Friday, September 30, 2016

Cabbage-worm on Kale

Cabbage Worm (Pieris rapae) on kale.

The leaves of my kale and broccoli are disappearing.  I thought that they were being eaten by some earwigs but upon close inspection I saw a multitude of velvety green larvae that are camouflaged on the leaves.  These are the larvae of the adult moth Pieris rapae. 

Pieris rapae is a beautiful small-sized butterfly known as the Cabbage White butterfly.  If you see a dainty-looking white butterfly with black dots on the wings flying around your garden, be extra observant.  While the adult is harmless, the larvae (commonly known as Cabbage-worm) are voracious and they feed on most brassica crops. At the early stages of the larvae, the damage happens slowly but once they reach a substantial size, they can defoliate the plants quickly.

There are a number of effective and safe biological control for the cabbage worm.  Basillus thuringiensis (Bt) and spinosad.  Ask your local nursery for these active ingredients and they will lead you to the right products.  These are both biological and considered organic pesticides.

As for me, since I do not have a huge garden, I prefer to do it by hand - picking the worms every morning. This is also biological and organic method, mind you. :) But this requires that I have to be vigilant.  

Stroll in your garden, and squash all the cabbage-worms you see :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fall is Here

Pomegranate  (Punica grantum 'Wonderful')

First day of fall.  The temperature dropped about ten degrees (F) since yesterday and a few drops - literally few drops - of rain fell on the ground.  But in this part of California, any amount of precipitation is appreciated.

And what better picture to mark the beginning of the season than the pomegranate fruits that are getting plump and turning red.  Although there are other fruits such as figs, apples and even pears that are too high even with my fruit picker still remaining, they all are all winding up.  

Pomegranate  tree in a pot.

"No man can taste the fruits of autumn while he is delighting his scent with the flowers of spring." ~ Samuel Johnson
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