Try these organic cabbage pest control options for severe infestations of these two common pests…
Cabbage and other brassica crops such as kale, collards, and broccoli can be very productive and easy to grow – and they may even live through the winter months in many areas – even those with moderately cold winters. However, although they grow well in many different areas and soil conditions, they are also quite tasty to several pests.
The main cabbage pests we deal with here in Central Ohio are aphids and cabbage worms (larvae of the cabbage moth or cabbage butterfly). There are several different species of these pests, but they all can wreak havoc on your brassica crops. Cabbage worms are crawly caterpillars that may be either pale green or striped, and they will chew holes in the leaves of your plants very quickly as they grow. A bad infestation may even strip the leaves down to just the veins, leaving behind little but droppings.
Aphids can also severely harm your cabbage crops, causing wrinkled, curled, or yellowed leaves, and sometimes making your greens inedible.
While we prefer to let nature handle the problem if possible, this doesn’t always work – especially with severe infestations. Ladybugs can be extremely helpful with aphid control, and if you have lots of ladybugs in your garden, relocating them to your aphid-infested plants may completely take care of the problem.
Cabbage moths may be prevented from laying their eggs on your plants with the use of row cover or garden netting and we use this method frequently. However, sometimes, as in the video below, our plants may eventually outgrow their coverings – or a few moths may sneak in anyway.
If you do find yourself with a heavy infestation of these pests, there are some very effective organic methods for taking care of the problem relatively quickly. In the video below, I discuss two methods of cabbage pest control that have proven very effective for us. (I filmed this in our garden a month or two ago, and yes, these plants are still going strong right now.) 🙂
Links & Tips:
Keep in mind that when buying neem oil, you want to get 100% neem oil (preferably organic) that is cold-pressed – like this one. This preserves the active ingredient azadirachtin, which is what stops the aphids from reproducing.
Here is the neem oil aphid spray recipe that I use – it has worked really well for me!
BT Liquid (for Cabbage Worms/Caterpillars) – This is approved by the OMRI for organic gardening use, and it is very concentrated, so you’ll only need a little bit mixed with water to spray a large bed of cabbage crops. Follow the label instructions, and one bottle should last a very long time!