I worry a lot about my Brussels sprouts. My garden is rife with every creature God created that eats plants, and a few that eat animals as well. Past experience tells me that Brussels sprouts are one of the tastiest plants on offer.
I’ve taken a couple of pre-emptive strikes to increase the likelihood that I’ll actually be able to eat from this crop. Firstly, I’ve sprayed the plants and the general area with my cure-all spray (garlic, bicarb, oil, soap and water) to deter the aphids. The crop I tried a few years ago died a sorry death under an aphid onslaught. I’ll have to keep reapplying my spray after rains, on cool afternoons, whenever I think of it. The garlic smell doesn’t last long.
Secondly, today I’ve distributed eggshells around the bed. Africanaussie (http://africanaussie.blogspot.com/2011/06/who-needs-worm-bin.html) has tried it around her celery and says she’s seen no moths since. I hope it works for me. If so, my beds will be thick with shells. Actually, they’ll be thick with shells because from now on egg shells are being scattered rather than tossed into the compost. Worst case, they make an odd visual. Cabbage moths have wiped out whole celery and basil plants and done nasty damage to many other of my food plants (I suspect them of turning my horseradish and mulberry cuttings into lace) so I’m game to try anything (non-toxic).
Update 1 July: Aaargh. Yesterday I went out and picked 3 of the pupae of a cabbage moth off my brussels sprouts. The caterpillars were maybe 3/4 inch long and munching away. I haven’t seen any moths but how else did those worms get there? I moved some eggshells around the attacked sprouts but that barn door was shut too late. I’m keeping my eyes peeled.
Update 24/8: These plants have been caterpillar/worm free since 1/7. BUT (there’s always a but) today I chased 2 cabbage moths off of them in the 5 minutes I was standing near them. This is not an indictment against the eggshell trick but it did highlight a flaw in the plan – now that the plants are really big, the eggshells nestle nicely under the leaves and the cabbage moths land atop the leaves. There is no way the moths can see, smell or otherwise sense the presence of the eggshells. That said, my cabbages that I’m growing in pots under the house had no eggshells but were nibbled on (caught in time I believe) by the pupae of the cabbage moths. They now are surrounded by eggshells.