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what is eating my cabbage?

I bought starts and planted them about four days ago. I checked on them yesterday and most looked liked this.
Should I cover them or spray(organic/natural of course) any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

 
That looks like slug damage to me but maybe someone else will know better. Cabbage butterflies (the little white ones) will lay eggs that turn into little green worms but you will usually see lots of little poops on the leaves when you have them. I have even seen cabbage butterflies flying around the cabbage seedlings in the greenhouse.

I surround my cabbage plants with crushed eggshells to deter slugs and then I cover the plants with floating row covers to keep the cabbage butterflies out.

Here's a picture from last year.



 
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It looks like cabbageworms but it should be too early for them. Check for well-camouflaged green worms on the leaves, and look underneath for eggs. If not, yes probably slugs.
 
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Mine look like that too. I have eggshells arouond them so its not slugs. (My dear friend Brown told me to use the eggshells and it really works).
I haven't seen butterflies but I haven't really looked for them. Will go look right now.
 
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Definitely looks like Cabbage Worm damage to me. And it's definitely NOT too early for them in your area. The Cabbage Moths have been flitting around here (Zone 7 as well) since mid-February, & the warm temps have just moved up their biological cycle.

Look over your cabbage plants for tiny eggs &/or tiny little green caterpillars.

Of course, slugs could also be doing their thing - but I'd bet on our mild winter & early warmer temps to have moved up Cabbage Moth caterpillar damage.

If I were you, I'd do several thorough applications of Bt (powder or spray), & get floating row covers over those seedlings - checking frequently to make sure you haven't trapped some of the pests underneath, thus giving them their own warm hotel & buffet. Floating row covers are best applied right after planting so the Cabbage Moths don't get a chance to lay their eggs in the first place.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by veggie gal:
(My dear friend Brown told me to use the eggshells and it really works).


This made me nervous so I headed right out to the garden with my camera and pulled back the row cover.

Sigh of relief ...no damage

Here's a picture to show you how I use LOTS of eggshells and I don't have a single hole in my cabbage leaves.


 
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Have my eggshells ready. Have seen the white butterfly for at least 10 days. Have my birdnetting on. No damage yet, saving my egg shells? Why, well, waiting............

Pic:

 
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Wow, Thanks everyone for all the info and ideas.

I don't have any egg shells but I will try to pick up a row cover and get that on them. I have never used BT is that a organic/natural product? My wife heard of using a little ivory liquid soap mixed with water in a spray bottle, has anyone used this method?

If it is slugs, could I use salt around the plants (only have a few) until I get the BT or the soap method?

Thanks again for all the help. I just did not expect this much activity on them already.
 
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"Bt" is a completely organic product. It's basically a natural bacteria that is selectively toxic to certain caterpillar pests. Comes in both a dust & a spray. Both work. It doesn't kill the caterpillars on contact, but when they ingest some of the bacteria-coated leaves. Harmless to humans.

PLEASE DON'T USE SALT in your garden! While it may kill the slugs, it will also kill your plants.
 
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Ok I've been out to the garden and have done a complete and thorough inspection.

Peter and Breezy there are no signs of little green or any other color worms or eggs on any of the leaves(top or bottom) that are left. Oh Breezy thanks for letting me know about the salt and BT.

Brown you hit the nail on the head. At closer inspection I can see signs (a little slim trail) of slug action on the under sides of most of the leaves. I have to say that is a nice setup you have there, and those cabbage look GREAT!

Lisaaann is that bird netting enough to stop the moths, do you also use a row cover with that?

Since it is to late for me to get anything I need tonight, I just moved the mulch away a little bit and covered each one with a small empty plant pot, in hopes of keeping them at a distance for the night.

Thanks again to all
 
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brownrexx, your cabbage are bee-YOO-tee-full! Wink

quote:
Originally posted by brownrexx:
That looks like slug damage to me but maybe someone else will know better. Cabbage butterflies (the little white ones) will lay eggs that turn into little green worms but you will usually see lots of little poops on the leaves when you have them. I have even seen cabbage butterflies flying around the cabbage seedlings in the greenhouse.

I surround my cabbage plants with crushed eggshells to deter slugs and then I cover the plants with floating row covers to keep the cabbage butterflies out.

Here's a picture from last year.



 
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Whoa, I really swear by the egshell barriers and you can see by my results from last year that it works for me but if you don't have eggshells (I save them all year) I have read that a barrier of sand will also work. I have never tried sand but I would be willing to give it a try if I didn't have eggshells. Supposedly the soft bodied little slugs are reluctant to cross sharp objects like sand particles or eggshells.
 
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Well, the birdneting keeps the butterflies from landing on the plants and the birds and squirels from attacking and digging. The birnetting has to be held off the plants. That's what the wood frame and pots are for.

As far as slugs, well, I don't have this bed mulched yet, the soil is still too cool to warrant that on these cool season crops, so that might be helping.

Does the netting prevent slugs? I assume if the slug crawls up on the netting, it could fall through a hole if it is small enough, and get in there, but so far so good.

That birdnetting is mainly for this cocky family of mockingbirds I get every year. You would have to see their nasty ways in person to believe it! They pluck a plant and drop it right there next to the hole. They don't bother to take it, just clip or pluck.
 
MARYLAND zone 6
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I also use eggshells, but if you don't have them, oyster shell works great also. You can buy it at any feed store.
 
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Great idea. I buy this for my chickens but the chick grit would be good and the particles are a smaller size.
 
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Snofarmer beat me to it! Big Grin I was going to say the same thing.

Down here I save tin cans that I can cut out both ends. I put them around all the plants I set out if possible. Some folks get the big ones from school cafeterias.

Just a little info...
On another board a gal in N. Ohio posted a pic for us to ID...it was a white cabbage moth & that was last week. She is very close to one of the Great Lakes so they are out. I've had them for about a month or more here.
 
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I think its the Choco-Beast what done it. Wink
 
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I've got the same problem with my brussels. After reading thread I put out a combo of eggshells and crushed oyster shells..some plants with oyster and some with eggshells just to see if one worked better than the other either way the problem seems to have slowed dramatically..good tip.
 

Zone 7b Northeast Ga.

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