Life in the garden is not a smooth ride and various diseases can affect cabbages as they grow in your vegetable garden. Why are your cabbage plants in bad shape and what can you do?
Do you know how to plant cabbages?
First of all, you should know that cabbages belong to the brassica family (more than 4000 species) and that before planting them, you should keep them away from other members of the family because they can be affected by the same pests.
Other members of the brassica family include turnips, rocket, rape, mustard andcauliflower. It is not always easy to keep your crops apart if your garden is small, but if it is, it can be useful to make choices. In permaculture, thinking before you plant your cabbages is therefore a good starting point
If your cabbages have holes in their leaves, it is very likely that they are victims of a plant parasite. Which pests can affect cabbage leaves?
- cabbage maggot: the cabbage maggot attacks the roots of the plant and causes wilting of the cabbage leaves
- cabbage aphid: these grey aphids will damage and even kill cabbage leaves
- Cabbage flea beetles : these are small insects that attack brassica seedlings and plants, including cabbage. They will perforate the leaves and damage them. Some young shoots can die completely from cabbage flea beetle attacks.
- Cabbage worm: this is a butterfly that is active from early spring to autumn. The caterpillars eat the cabbage leaves and cause holes. The damage is significant: several generations of caterpillars will follow one another and destroy the cabbage leaves, which will no longer be edible.
These are the main pests that attack cabbage plants, but there are of course others.
Controlling cabbage pests in permaculture
There are various natural solutions to control cabbage pests in permaculture. Here are some examples:
- use essential oils: juniper essential oil will keep cabbageworms away. The essential oil of cryptomeria, as for it, also functions in curative treatment (and not preventive).
- Remove caterpillars and aphids by hand to prevent them from settling in, by removing them one by one. You can also spray the leaves with a garden hose and repeat the operation every day until you see no more caterpillars.
- encourage the proximity of cabbage plants and birds so that the latter will devour the whitefly.
- to fight against flea beetles, which do not like humidity, it can be useful to install a protective veil around the plants, but also to humidify the plants.
Finally, be aware that other pests can damage cabbage and attack its roots.