May 30, 2012

Know Thine Enemy

Cabbage worm variety #1
These little guys eat a lot, poor broccoli
The daily hunt
Almost missed this big one
I've been picking them off by hand
Including the eggs, when I see them
I think this last nasty blighter is another variety of cabbage worm, but I'm not sure. Last year, when we had fewer plants, I kept finding these striped fellows eating the Egyptian walking onions. Weird. Onions are supposed to be virtually pest free and are often planted around the perimeter of gardens as a pest deterrent. Mother nature forgot to inform these little buggers. 

Hand picking these off (and squishing them) is all well and good, but I think it's time to call in reinforcements. While in NC, I used a cayenne pepper spray to coat the leaves of plants being attacked by slugs and other unseen wee beasties. It was pretty effective in warding off the munching bugs. The only problem was the spray mechanism on the bottle got clogged with cayenne pepper and broke.

There's lots of recipes for cayenne pepper spray online. Most also contain garlic. If made from fresh garlic and peppers, the spray will rot. If I remember correctly, mine rotted even though I kept it in the refrigerator. To avoid clogging the sprayer and rotting before I can use it up, here's what I'm going to try this year.

1 Tbs dried garlic granules
2 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 Qt water
1/2 tsp pure castille soap

Steep garlic and pepper in 1 Qt boiling water. When cool, strain through coffee filter into spray bottle. Add the castille soap, mix, and spray on plants making sure to coat both the top and underside of leaves.

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