Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The white butterfly

I just her today, flitting around my garden looking for cabbage and broccoli (HA I didn't plant any!), going methodically from plant to plant. If I'm seeing her in my garden, then she's going to the communal garden too.

I'm talking about the cabbage worm butterfly. Cute, white, wispy. You'll hear your kids say, "Hey! Look at the white butterfly over there!" You'll see it and watch it gracefully twirl over the plants and and sigh and think, My, how lovely nature is!

Lovely my eye. This white butterfly lays eggs on the underside of the leaves of all brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnip, broccoli). The eggs hatch, and out come the tiniest green worms you've never seen (because they're perfectly camouflaged). They eat great holes in the leaves, growing in size like Otto the Goldfish, until they devour the plant.

Agent Orange Unnecessary

Fortunately, it's easy to control the situation.

If you see the white butterfly, then please consider it your job (thank you) to clear the leaves of eggs.

1. Gently turn each brassica leaf over and examine the underside.
2. Look for small pale-green bumps, about the size of one couscous (one coucou? one cous? What's the singular of couscous?!)
3. Gently brush it off with your finger.

Let others know you've seen the butterfly. It will lay eggs for about 3-4 days, so we have to keep checking.

If you see a hole in a brassica leaf, we missed an egg. Turn the leaf over and find the worm. Brush it off the leaf.

You can do it!

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