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How do I keep caterpillars off my kale?

(9 Posts)
BornToFolk Sun 16-Aug-15 20:08:13

I'm growing kale for the first time, in pots. It's really easy to grow and very tasty but unfortunately the caterpillars think so too and at the moment they are getting most of it sad

How can I keep them off? I'd rather not use pesticides if I can help it.

ProfYaffle Sun 16-Aug-15 20:11:09

With great difficulty! I got my Dad to make some wooden frames to go over the kale and I've got the green shade netting fastened to the frame. Caterpillars still occasionally get in though, I have to vigilant and check the plants regularly, picking off any that I find.

YeOldeTrout Sun 16-Aug-15 20:18:41

Keep indoors if poss, pick off the eggs as well as caterpillars, double net if outside.

Crosbybeach Mon 17-Aug-15 15:58:04

Put up a frame, bamboo poles cut in half and put in the pots will do, and drape some net curtains over them.

You can just pick off the eggs or squish them while wearing gloves. . I wouldn't keep indoors as they will get too warm and bolt (go to seed).

BornToFolk Mon 17-Aug-15 16:18:26

Sound like netting is the way to go then but if I net now, won't I risk trapping all the little feckers inside with a free meal? I suppose the solution is to give the plants a good going over before applying net

shovetheholly Mon 17-Aug-15 16:25:09

You could give the leaves a really powerful spray with a jet of water from the hose then check over manually. Netting is really useful, not just for caterpillars but pigeons which will strip kale to the bone given half a chance.

BornToFolk Mon 17-Aug-15 18:10:13

Bugger, really? Pigeons too? Everyone loves the kale! grin

I've been out with DS and his bug collecting kit and I think we've gathered all the caterpillars. I'll get some netting tomorrow.

Thanks for the tips!

ProfYaffle Mon 17-Aug-15 18:26:26

Yup - pigeons too! Between them, the caterpillars, flea beetles and moles I feel somewhat under attack this year.

shovetheholly Tue 18-Aug-15 08:27:42

Don't forget the slugs, snails, and cabbage root fly too! angry

Basically, with veg... if we eat it, so do billions of other beasties. I net all my brassicas and roots at my allotment with enviromesh, and things still somehow get in there!

The pigeon thing is weird - they seem to like brassicas at a certain stage, at which point they will tear them to ribbons virtually overnight. My neighbour didn't net his cabbages and for aaaages they were absolutely pristine. I wondered if my netting was a bit overkill. Then all of a sudden, they were reduced to cabbage skeletons.

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