Help!! This is the first time I've tried to grow brassicas and all I see is eggs and caterpillars and white butterflies fluttering around. How can I get rid of them? Or do I need to worry? Also, on my lettuces I see tiny white dots that fly. Please give me some advice as I have put so much effort into my fantastic raised garden!

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Hi Lynn, It's just that time of year when the white butteflies fest on our brassicas! you could make an organic spray by simmering garlic and chilli and adding a dash of washing up liquid to make it stick! You need to spray every 4-5 days . Alternatively cover your crop with a bird netting. What I do is place a bounty of 20 cents on each pest and arm my three boys with butterfly nets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sounds like your lettuces might have whitefly, you can use the same spray to get rid of them. They often don't do too much damage, so you can just put up with the white fly and wash lettuces before eating ( or not if you don't mind more protein!!)

Happy Gardening
Janet Luke
Hi Lynn, Here are some recipes for some home-made sprays you could try. I hope they help.

Regards, Janet
Hi Janet
Thanks! Will mix up my brew tomorrow.

Janet Luke said:
Hi Lynn, Here are some recipes for some home-made sprays you could try. I hope they help.

Regards, Janet
i use a double layer of bird netting thrown over some plastic half hoops when they are small. then you don't need to worry about sprays. when the plants grow bigger they can cope with attacks much better and i just finger squash every so often. when the weather gets colder they won't be so prevalent.
Hi Lynne. If you find the sprays don't work too well, I use a product called Biomesh from Redpath in Palmerston North. It's a mesh that I use to cover entire raised beds or I make smaller cloche with them. It is awesome stuff and prevents things as small as white fly from getting to your veges. It still allows the sun and rain onto the plants, so I just plant the seedlings, mulch around them and then leave them till they're ready to harvest. This is the link if you want to have a look. Good luck!
You can companion plant nasturtiums around brassicas to deter white butterfly as they prefer it. I have had lots of success with that. Also I have to confess to using Derris Dust which works a treat but does cost $$. I haven't found any of the homemade sprays have actually worked successfully with the butterfly problem. For the caterpillars the best option organically is digital control e.g. squashing between your fingers! I have also heard wandering around with a badminton racquet swatting butterflies works, but I wouldn't want to do it all day! My cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower did really well with just nasturtiums and marigolds planted around them. I planted beans nearby as well and they flourished! Not too much hassle from the butterflies. I allow them to eat one or two leaves I don't mind a few holes, and I just squash or flick off the caterpillars when I don't derris dust.
I tend to avoid growing brassica's in summer because of the white butterfly. However, I like to get my winter brassicas in the ground in february/march while the butterflies are still around. So I put in a few bamboo stakes and throw an old net curtain over the whole lot until end of march. Cheap and easy.
We use bird netting that seems to keep the butterfly off but we are also doing a lot of companion planting and I've noticed that we have quite a few small wasps around these days with practically no caterpillars at all, not even monarch butterfly can survive around here..

We also have a good flock of starlings and thrush and quite a lot of waxeyes etc. that I think are taking care of the slugs and snails which are almost entirely missing this winter, except for some very small snails.
I used frost cloth over hoops. See my photos. Something else I tried was Neem Oil granules (organic). A small teaspoon in the hole when planting and then about the same around the stalk. I had brassicas with just tiny holes where the hatching caterpillars took a few bites and went Oooogh and fell off. Worth a try?



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