How To Identify And Get Rid Of Cabbage Worms?

How To Identify And Get Rid Of Cabbage Worms?

Cutworms, imported cabbageworms, cabbage loopers, diamondback moth larvae, and cross-striped cabbage worms can each cause substantial damage to cabbage. If you don’t get the first infestation under control, you could end up losing your entire crops!

There are many ways to get rid of and prevent cabbage worms. Below are some ideas that are easy, affordable, and that works!

How To Identify Cabbage Worms?

Cabbage worms have a velvety green color and almost invisible yellow stripes. If you have cabbage worms on your crops, you’ll also notice holes in the cabbage leaves and dark excrement on them. 

Organic Ways To Get Rid Of Cabbage Worms

The best way to get rid of cabbage worms is by manually removing them from your crops. If this grosses you out, try one of these methods instead:

Use Corn Meal

You can wet your cabbage and sprinkle cornmeal on them to get rid of cabbage worms. The worms will eat the cornmeal, swell up, and die.

Use a Water and Soap Spray

Mix about one gallon of water with 4 tablespoons of liquid soap. You can include a few drops of essential oil or a cup of vinegar too. If you spray this solution on and around your cabbage plants, it’ll repel and kill the cabbage worms. 

Get Poultry

Chickens love eating cabbage worms. If you have an infestation, sending poultry into your veggie garden will help you get rid of it. Chickens will also prevent most worms from reaching your garden in the first place. 

Other Ways To Get Rid Of Cabbage Worms

There are many things you can do to prevent cabbage worms from getting to or on your cabbage crops.

Use Row Covers

You can place a removable row cover over your cabbage plants to protect them from cabbage worms. Once your plants are bigger and more pest-resistant, you can remove these again. The row cover will also help protect small plants against frost.

Attract Beneficial Insects

Another natural way to prevent cabbage worms and get rid of the few that intrudes is by attracting beneficial insects to your garden. Ladybugs are a first choice, and you can purchase them online to populate your garden. If you plant attractive plants, it’ll lure ladybugs to your garden. 

Plant Benficial Flowers

Many plants and herbs repel cabbage worms. You should plant these close to your cabbages if you want them to work. I suggest planting one row of cabbage, and one row of your chosen companion plant. You can choose between marigolds, tomato, sage, thyme, peppermint, and sansy. 

Cabbage Worm Life Cycle

If you understand the life cycle of a cabbage worm, you’ll have a better chance of getting rid of them and future infestations. 

Cabbage worms hibernate through the cold and emerge as adults when it gets sunny. Female butterflies will lay eggs shortly after emerging. They lay their eggs on the undersides of cabbage leaves where you won’t easily notice it. The baby worms will emerge and start eating your cabbage leaves to grow. The eggs can be white, yellow, or green. 

Tiny cabbage worms mature in about 3 or 4 weeks. This is when they stop eating and pupate. The cocoons they form also sit on the underside of the cabbage leaves. New adults that lay eggs will emerge in about 10 days. 

These butterflies may look pretty and harmless, but once you understand what they’re doing, you won’t think so anymore. If you don’t get rid of the first cabbage worms, you can end up with multiple infestations in a season. 

Cabbage Worm Origin

You might think your garden is safe if you don’t see any cabbage worms on your cabbage. However, this isn’t the case. Since mature cabbage worms (butterflies) can fly, they can come from anywhere. Cabbage is one of their main host plants, so they’ll immediately be attracted to this crop.

If you don’t keep a close eye on your cabbage plants and check the underside of their leaves too, you might suddenly see an infestatio emerge that you didn’t think was there. 

In Ending

Cabbage worms can leave big holes in your cabbage leaves. At their worst, they can devour an entire plant! You might feel sorry for killing these worms since they aren’t poisonous, but the damage they cause could destroy all your crops.

Getting rid of cabbage worms can be tricky. Since their eggs are almost invisible, you might only spot them when they start emerging. The best thing to do is push your frustrations aside and use the first method that appeals to you. It’s going to be trial and error, but you’ll win if you stay consistent. 

Prevention is always better than figuring out a solution, so plant companion plants that repel cabbage worms and attract beneficial insects from the start!

Why Are My Tomato Plants Growing So Slow?

Why are my tomatoes plants growing so slow?

Tomatoes are relatively easy to grow, but they still have some requirements. If their soil, light, or watering needs aren’t met, you’ll have trouble growing healthy plants.

You should keep an eye on your tomato plants to figure out why they aren’t growing. Sometimes you’ll only need to tweak something small about their care to help them grow better. It’s best to start from the bottom up when trying to identify what could be stunting your tomato plant growth. 

Below are some things to do if your tomato plants don’t seem to be growing.

Identify Transplant Shock

If you transplanted tomato seedlings from a nursery pot and notice they aren’t growing, it could be that they have transplant shock. This happens when the soil from one pot is much different than the next, your plant root has been damaged, or your aftercare lacks.

You need to carefully remove your tomato seedlings and gently place them in new soil. Ensure to water them immediately and keep them watered. This will help the roots settle. 

Check The Soil Nutrients

Tomato plants need nutritious soil to grow well. According to Stephanie Suesan Smith, a master gardener from LivingBoosts.com, you can get your soil test in late December and then choose the right tomato fertilizer accordingly. You can check out her work on tomato fertilizer here for more detail. Soil test is probably the most important thing you can do for your tomato plants to grow properly.

If you use potting soil, there’ll only be enough nutrients to support your plants for about three months. You’ll have to use a good tomato fertilizer after that to keep the soil adequate. 

You can use animal manure, store-bought fertilizers, or food scraps. Add these around your plants about 4 weeks after you planted them. This will ensure the fertilizers are in the ground and start acting once the potting soil nutrients run out. 

If you add nutrients every second month, your tomato plants will continue to thrive. You should remember to test the soil pH before adding nutrients to ensure you don’t make it too acidic.

Check The Lighting

Tomatoes need sunlight and warmth. If it’s a little cold, they won’t grow as well. You should place them in a sunny spot or greenhouse, but ensure they don’t scorch. Too much sun isn’t good for them either. 

If your plants aren’t getting enough sun, their leaves will wilt. Move them to a sunnier spot if this happens. If your plants are cold, you’ll have to cover them with frost cloth to prevent damage. An area that’s too sunny can burn your tomato plants, so keep them partially shaded for a few hours per day. 

Check Your Watering Schedule

If your soil drains too fast, your tomato plants could dry out. You should ensure they get enough water each day to stay hydrated. Your plants can stop growing if you don’t water them regularly.

Be careful of giving too much water too. Drowning your tomato plant roots could lead to root rot which could halt growth. 

Check for Proper Soil Drainage

If your soil is loamy or sandy, your tomato plants might be rootbound. The soil could be preventing nutrient flow and absorption. This usually happens when your soil doesn’t drain well,

You can fix this by mixing compost into your soil. Adding pebbles will also help. If your tomatoes are growing in containers, you might need to plant them in a bigger pot. 

Check for Pests

Some insects like gnawing on tomato plant roots, stems, and leaves. This could cause a lot of damage and stunt their growth. You should use a natural or synthetic pesticide on your plants and regularly check for bugs. If you catch them too late, they could destroy your plants entirely. 

Check for Pollination Access

Tomatoes are self-fertile, and making them easily accessible to pollinating insects will ensure they fruit. If your plants are indoors, open a window daily to give insect access. If you notice no visits from insects, you can gently shake your plants to imitate the bug’s work.  

Check for Dead Leaves

You should regularly prune your tomato plants to ensure there are no dead leaves. Damaged leaves will still draw nutrients in an attempt to revive themselves. Mostly, these are beyond saving and waste nutrients that healthier leaves could use. If you prune the dead leaves, there’ll be more nutrients for the healthy leaves. This will ensure your tomato plant grows better and doesn’t stop.

In Conclusion

It can feel horrible when your tomato plants stop growing. Facing this challenge isn’t any fun, but luckily, you can turn the tables. If you monitor your plants and ensure you meet all their needs, you’ll have a beautiful garden filled with red fruits. 

Start by checking the soil, light exposure, and watering schedule. You should add fertilizer if your soil doesn’t have enough nutrients, place your plants in a spot with at least 6 hours of daily sunlight, and ensure the roots stay moist but aren’t drowning. Too much or too little water and sunlight could harm your plants and stunt their growth.