Battle for the Cruciferous Vegetables

Fresh Kale

Fresh Kale

LAKE MACBRIDE— Summer arrived and the battle for the cruciferous vegetables has begun in earnest. The progeny of the white butterflies— that were flitting about laying eggs less than two weeks ago— have arrived in large numbers. Too many to count, the small green caterpillars have done their damage to broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards and kale leaves planted in the middle southern garden plot. They either like something or they don’t because the Swiss chard planted between the kale and collards was untouched by the caterpillars. The bugs also appeared in the spring vegetable plot where I put a few extra broccoli and kohlrabi seedlings. They don’t seem to bother the turnips, radishes and arugula, also cruciferous vegetables, although something else pokes tiny holes in those leaves.

I don’t have many defenses, except to limit the damage by picking off the caterpillars and dropping them into a bucket of soapy water. Because my fingers are so big compared to the bugs, I went to the medical supply house and bought a surgical grade, stainless steel forceps to aid me in plucking them off the leaves. It’s a nice piece of equipment.

I harvested all of the kale to get rid of one food source for them. It is now debugged, washed, dried and stored in the refrigerator. I have new collard, Swiss chard and kale seedlings ready to plant, so I need to consider where to put them. Outside the current colony/restaurant for caterpillar dining, methinks.

While I mull that over, I’ll make a smoothie with kale, strawberries, peach, Greek yogurt, honey and ice. By acting quickly, I got my share of the kale harvest and intend to enjoy it.

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