Brooding On

Ever Met a Cabbage Looper?

For the traditional gardener, early detection may not be so important.  Notice a pretty advanced pest invasion?  Put on the mask and douse the garden in Sevin dust.  But, we organic gardeners are playing a different game altogether.  I'm pretty sure if there were such a thing as the 10 Commandments of Organic Gardening, this one would be somewhere high on the list:

Know Thy Garden

I water my garden by hand most every morning, rather than using a sprinkler (though I do think this is for the best, it's not entirely by choice as I don't currently have a working sprinkler).  Then, while the kids are playing in the evening, I take a walk through again, just looking and plucking weeds as I go.   So, when I saw the tiny holes in the broccoli leaf that I knew weren't there that morning, I turned it over to discover this guy.

Yep, he's a cabbage looper.  This tiny, green caterpillar eats leaves of cabbage-family crops for dinner.

On this leaf, he's not so difficult to spot.

But, on this lettuce, he's well camouflaged.  Can you spot him?

To repel loopers, use a garlic spray.  And, when you spot loopers, handpick them and crush eggs.

Isn't this lettuce lovely?  It's the aptly named Little Gem, a Romaine variety.  It's almost too beautiful to eat!  Maybe the loopers agree -- they've left this variety untouched, so far.