I woke up this fine Saturday morning, took the dog out and had a look at my garden. To my surprise I saw tons of tiny little greenish-black poop-looking things all over the lettuce.
After a bit of research and help from Kittee at theppk.com, I discovered that my fall crop was infested with the lowly imported cabbage worm. And all that time I spent catching the pretty white butterfly with my net when I was little, who knew they were pure evil to lettuce, kale, beets and turnips?
Luckily I caught them in time and not much damage was done. I combed the bed, looking at every leaf, and found about 6 - 10 of them lurking. The worst part was killing the poor things. As a vegan I hate to kill anything, but of course anytime you cut down a plant there are insects making their home in it that will die. There is only so much you can do. So I drowned them, but there has to be a quicker way. Maybe next time I'll try cutting them in half. Awww, ewww, terrible- poor worms. Or could I just throw them over the fence? Guess it depends on how mobile they are...
Funny enough, as I held one on my garden-gloved finger it pooped right in front of me! It was so weird, I wasn't sure which end of the worm was the head but I sure found out quickly enough. The backside opened up and the poop that came out was as wide as the worm. Gross! Its a good thing for those telltale signs of poop though, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to find them all and save my crop.
I also put some organic pesticide on but I think it was the wrong kind. BT is what works for catepillars. Although in the future I don't think I'll use either. Thinking about it, even though it is organic I still really don't know it's effects on the environment and who knows what is really affecting the bees. I decided just to keep looking for the poop, manually finding the offending worms, and at worst get some row covers.