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Brassicas are notoriously hard to protect and we have all seen cabbage and broccoli leaves stripped down to a sort of skeleton as a result of pests. But netting goes a long way to solving the problem.

I have some fundamentally healthy looking broccoli (under netting) but most of the plants have a few minor holes (ranging from 0.5mm to 3mm) in the leaves. Is this a problem? Are these even pests, or just some kind of wear and tear in the leaf structure?

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Good question. I have the same thing, no netting, but holes in the leaves. The heads are ok (once I get the worms out!). I wouldn't mind knowing when I should worry... similarly with cabbage, except that some of those heads have holes chewed in them. – bstpierre Oct 5 '11 at 14:07
@TeaDrinker Are you open to a "philosophical" type answer? Meaning I believe it comes down to a number of factors -- 1) Gardening style eg Organic or non-organic. 2) What your expectations as a gardener are eg "Natural" looking veggies or "perfect" veggies (Supermarket type requirements, uniform size, colour, no blemishes...). 3) Blah, blah, blah... – Mike Perry Oct 11 '11 at 16:59

It sounds like you've got slugs. Put out a beer trap and check it every morning. That should solve it. A few holes in it won't hurt the plant. You could try putting copper rings around the bases of the plants. Slugs can't stand copper.

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