SAVING THE BRASSICAS FROM THE CHARMS OF THE WHITE CABBAGE BUTTERFLY – FOURTH WEEK IN JUNE 2009

large white cabbage butterfly

Large White Cabbage Butterfly

This is the week when I bought an 8m x 6m garden net for €8.50 from Charlie Corr’s my local hardware shop. I need it to protect my cabbage patch from the alluring but potentially devastating cabbage white butterfly. Although this little creature is very soft on the eye, unfortunately it’s offspring are very hard on the cabbage.

I have posted a video on this site showing the cabbage patch and the whole back garden at the end of June with before and after shots showing 9 bamboo sticks, topped with 9 upside down empty plastic water bottles holding aloft the netting once it is tied at the centre supported by a central taller bamboo. This ‘net tent’ is held down by 8 old tent pegs around the edge.

Two species are worth remembering here. The Large White and the Small White. The Large lays its eggs in clusters on the underside of brassica leaves which are easy to detect and destroy if you spot them in time by rubbing them away with your thumb. The Small White differs by laying its minute eggs singly on the underside of brassica leaves. Trouble is, if you do not spot it in time, each resulting caterpillar begins its eating odyssey at the heart of a cabbage and only appears on the outer leaves when extensive damage has been done to the plant.

It is for these reasons that I bought and erected the net ( with a little help from my friends, thanks Lorcan and Ciaran). I still have to lift the edges to retrieve slugs and snails at night by torchlight before bedtime. However the net is still loose enough to not impede the watering can during the almost daily early morning watering routine.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. […] SAVING THE BRASSICAS FROM THE CHARMS OF THE WHITE CABBAGE BUTTERFLY – FOURTH WEEK IN JUNE 2009 June 2009 4 […]

    Reply

  2. Posted by Damien Mc Hale on May 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Hi Trevor – thanks for the great video on setting up the netting – just wondering what dimension in mm were the netting spaces – i was looking at 6 or 7mm but can only seem to find 9mm or greater netting.

    Reply

    • Posted by Trevor Sargent on May 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      Hi Damien,
      Thanks for getting in touch. The netting needs to have a very small mesh. Even then any cabbage leaves touching the side may well be ‘blessed’ with eggs! Latterly, I would turn to horticultural fleece as a more effective barrier to the cabbae white butterfly if I had a bigger cabbage patch.Meanwhile, I am happy to scrutinize the underside of each leaf and rub off any eggs found.
      Happy growing and eating.
      Trevor

      Reply

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