We have broccoli, kale and onion in one of our vegetable beds. Some tiny worms are eating the leaves of both broccoli and kale. My question is, what are some of the environmentally safe ways to protect the plants? Not just broccoli and kale but other plants too.

Are there any plants that act as bait for these worms so they will be attracted to those plants? I'm sure there are certain combinations of plants which protect each other. And there are some plants which attract bugs that attack certain plants. I would like to know these combinations. Does anyone know any of these techniques?

  • 2
    a picture of these 'worms' and/or the damage they are doing would be helpful. I will note that most likely they are either caterpillars or slugs, true worms feed on dead plant matter, not living plants. – GardenerJ May 6 '16 at 10:00
  • Chickens? We luve rurally, and have surprisingly few bugs round our property. I put this down to our totally freerange chickens. – davidgo May 7 '16 at 20:52

The "cabbage worm" which is really a caterpillar of the cabbage moth is best prevented by preventing the moth from accessing the plant - hoops of floating row cover are commonly deployed over cabbage-family plants (such as broccoli and kale) to provide this protection.

Once they are present, the most common "generally considered environmentally safe" approach is Bt, which is fairly specific to caterpillars. Prevention is preferred.

This may or may not be the "worms" you have.

Hand-picking is always an option - wear gloves if you are squeamish about touching them.

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