This little sucker is probably one of the most hated pests in all of gardenhood. The cabbage white butterfly, Pieris rapae. It was introduced to Australia accidentally and rapidly became a notorious pest. Every Summer they come in waves, laying thousands of eggs on green leaves or cabbage, broccoli, chards, lettuce and others. The bright green, soft caterpillars can destroy a crop within days. I doubt I’m the only person who’s spent half an hour chasing one around the garden with a shoe.
Fortunately there’s an easier way to deal with the little blighters. A spray of garlic misted over the veggies puts them off quite a bit.
This is two large teaspoons of crushed garlic in 600ml (a pint) of water. Using warm or cold water doesn’t seem to make much difference. After standing for a few minutes, the mixture is strained. Filtering through coffee filter paper helps keep the spray mister nozzle from clogging up with little chunks of garlic. Now the whole kitchen reeks of it and I’ve an overwhelming urge to make garlic bread.
Spraying this all around the veggie patch seems to deter the cabbage white quite effectively. It does need to be repeated after rain, otherwise use it whenever you notice white butterflies around. Do try not to stand downwind of the spray unless you’re also avoiding vampires.