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12 messages
11/10/2013 at 13:10

I'm fairly new to gardening, and when we moved into our new house in June I made a huge mistake and planted Kale... and although I tried to keep on top of the caterpillars I lost the battle and pulled the whole lot out. Now the caterpillars that I missed have been chomping their way through all my border plants.... I just don't know what to do.

My question is, will they come back again next year - will there still be the scent of kale in my garden? Help!

11/10/2013 at 13:14

What border plants are they eating?  It would be unusual for the same type of caterpillars to be eating them. 

11/10/2013 at 13:29

There are 3 different types of caterpillars 

Honeysuckle, hardy geraniums/johnsons blue and some other more established plants that I don't know the name of sorry - I am a real novice!

Have you experienced a lot of caterpillars this year?

11/10/2013 at 13:43

Only a few on Sweet Rocket plants, which are related to brassicas so I expect the Cabbage Whites to get them every year - I keep my eyes open and pick the little beggars off and squidge them.  They're  the only caterpillars I squidge as I know there are plenty of Cabbage White butterflies about.  Others are becoming scarce.  

I've not had a problem with caterpillars on hardy geraniums this year but I know some others have this year.  I've never had a problem with caterpillars on honeysuckle and only know of one which eats them and have never heard of them causing real damage.  

Anyway, the fact you had kale in your garden will have no effect on the attractiveness or otherwise of your border plants to any butterflies and moths so that's not a problem.

Unless your plants are becoming totally decimated I really wouldn't worry - it's good that you're providing food plants for the caterpillars - we need butterflies and moths to pollinate our fruit,  flowers and vegetables. 

11/10/2013 at 13:45

Oh good, thanks for that 

Loving having a garden!

11/10/2013 at 14:23

They all pupate over winter. Next year they will be moths or butterflies, and your plants will start afresh.  its too late to worry about this year, the plants will be going dormant soon.

11/10/2013 at 14:54

If you grow veg again, make sure it is well netted or you will have brassica massacre again.

11/10/2013 at 16:34

I'm never growing veg in the flower border ever again!

11/10/2013 at 17:00

I had exactly the same problem! My garden is also new (new house, garden full of stones and rubble) and I started enthusiastically growing kale and broccoli in my new veg patch. I was on daily vigil to squash the eggs of the cabbage white, but darn it they won the battle. On returning from holiday there was more caterpillar than kale on the plants! I pulled up the whole lot.

They aslo decimated my nasturtians and rocket!



11/10/2013 at 17:18

Your garden sounds like mine! Lots of stones/pebbles (we are close to the sea). I tried too, daily squashing, but they got the better of me, the little blighters...

11/10/2013 at 18:21

Love gardening the plot is a bit of a challenge though, but I am enjoying it very much.

so much to learn!

12/02/2015 at 18:38

I experienced the same thing last year. The whole thing was chomped away twice by caterpillars. I decided to leave them to it though, since we need all the butterflies we can breed over here too.   The plant looked a right mess, though. 

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