London (change)
1 to 20 of 22 messages
05/11/2013 at 17:48

It's just ocurred to me and I know it's the wrong time of year to be wondering about this but the advice from organic gardeners is to squish caterpillar 'pests'. I don't understand the point of attracting butterflies to the garden if that is what is recommended we do to their offspring. Any ideas?

05/11/2013 at 17:53

It it's cabbage white offspring I'm happy to squish, I don't grow food to feed caterpillars. Need it for us.

05/11/2013 at 17:57

I net the cabbages, so the butterflies can lay their eggs on the nasturtiums, and the birds can pick them off.

05/11/2013 at 18:02

Fidget, due to shortage of space I grow veg in with flowers so I can't easily net. Do net some that stand alone, but this year I've also had cabbage white caterpillars on some flowers and herbs 

05/11/2013 at 18:25

I can't squish them at all - I put them on the bird table but sometimes they slink off. 

05/11/2013 at 19:20

Butterflies lay that many eggs some are going to get away even if you do squish them.  

06/11/2013 at 08:19

I will squish cabbage whites if they are eating brassicas, (but I don't grow many of them).

I wouldn't dream of squishing anything else (other than vineweevils and leatherjackets).

clk wrote (see)

........... I don't understand the point of attracting butterflies to the garden if that is what is recommended we do to their offspring. Any ideas?

And when it comes to attractng butterflies to the garden, we need to be planting food plants for their caterpillars, as well as nectar for the adults.


06/11/2013 at 09:03

 I don't see the point in killing the very things you're trying to attract, but you need to decide what it is you want to do in your garden. Advice given by experts is all too often just rules they were told. We should never blindly follow rules. That advice could well have been good for the farmer getting a crop to market. It may make it easy to harvest or easy to store the produce or make the size of the crop greater. The advice may have no relevance to us with very different requirements. For example a famer grows for weight, you, if growing food, want flavour. Those two requirements are sometimes inversely proportional.

If you have a well balanced garden you won't nee to kill anything. Personally I didn't become a gardener to be a butcher.

06/11/2013 at 09:20

Most of the butterflies we are trying to attract lay their eggs on nettles. The caterpillars that are a pest on plants other than brassicas are usually types of saw fly

06/11/2013 at 10:45

Nettles are the primary larval foodplant for several of the more easily recognisable butterflies, but there are loads more butterflies whose larval foodplants are becoming more and more scarce - it wouldn't be too difficult to plant a few of them in our gardens

06/11/2013 at 11:17

Hi Dove, that's a good link.   No point growing Barren strawberries for Grizzled Skipper if they don't live in your area.

06/11/2013 at 16:34

clk, try companion planting. Give the caterpillars alternative food sources to the stuff you are growing, then you can protect whatever you growing with fleece which you can cut to size as you wish.

06/11/2013 at 16:40

And if all that fails pick them up and flick them into your neighbours garden....

06/11/2013 at 16:42

Our bluetits, robins and blackbirds scour the garden every spring looking for caterpillars to rear their chicks with. 

06/11/2013 at 16:51

Fry the little devils in garlic butter...soz got my daft head on Also just put my tin hat on.

06/11/2013 at 17:41

I Agree Dove,

Not a one on my nasturtiums, now if only they mopped up the saw fly larvae the same. 

06/11/2013 at 20:29

I netted my broccoli this year and cabbage white got under the netting, so was thinking of leaving a couple of plants outside the netting just for butterflies in the hope they'll lay eggs on them and they can munch to their hearts content. 

07/11/2013 at 17:50

That's a great idea zoomer44. Alternatively you could go for other brassicas Ladies Smock is a lovely little flower and will also attract the orange tip. Here's the Wikipedia list of Brasicas. Of course after all that they might just prefer your cabbages. There's also ornamental Cabbages as beautiful as an flower. It would be interesting if anyone knows what they would choose to eat over all if they had the choice. 

07/11/2013 at 17:53

Cabbage Whites like my Sweet Rocket (it's a brassica) - they certainly found that rather than my baby Purple Sprouting plants that were hiding amongst pots of hostas 

07/11/2013 at 18:21

Hi Dove, have you tried eating the Sweet Rocket? It's a bit hairy but if quite nice, it's got a mild cabbage flavour, if you don't mind the hairs. My neighbour thinks I recklessly eat everything. I don't think she realises I look it up first.

1 to 20 of 22 messages