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.
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.