Cabbage Whites - Do Nasturtiums Protect or Attract?


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I am aware that some people plant a 'sacrifice crop' to protect brassicas from cabbage whites.

Does anyone understand the lifecycle of the cabbage white well enough to know whether this is likely to work? Surely if you have a garden full of Nasturtiums (I do, because I love them) you're also likely to have a garden full of caterpillars/eggs/cabbage white - and whatever other stages they go through? So long term aren't sacrificial crops going to create more risk?
 
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I have never heard of (in Texas) of using Nasturtiums as a companion plant to alleviate insect damage. I have heard of using Marigolds and even tried it myself on occasion. On a positive note, the Marigolds did attract a lot of insects, both good and bad. In fact many more, and a large portion of these insects did not stay on the Marigolds but decided that they liked other stuff in the garden just as much. It also seemed that there were more bad insects than good ones. All of this happened decades ago, long before the products we have now came onto the market. IIRC the Marigolds seem to attract aphids more than anything else. IMO it is a toss-up as to whether sacrificial plants work or not but with todays soil bacterial insecticides I know I will stay with the insecticides.
 
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It goes eggs, caterpillar, pupa, butterfly.
The pupa are what overwinter, then hatch as butterflies in Spring which lay eggs. Those eggs can go through the stages to be butterflies laying more eggs by mid-summer, Then those will hatch as caterpillars to become an Autumn pupa and overwinter.

I may be wrong, but I can't see why the butterflies would prefer the nasturtiums to cabbages and I would suspect it is just giving them an extra place to breed.

One butterfly lays about two hundred eggs, plenty to go round all the plants if you have five or six in the garden, that's only about 3% survival rate from your first butterfly.

A badminton racket is a good weapon for the flying stage, which is the multiplying one.
 
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A badminton racket is a good weapon for the flying stage, which is the multiplying one.

Ha. I've actually done that. Kinda helps to lower the population but its hard to swat them while crossing the rows of cabbage and broccoli. I have saw yellow ones, but not sure which worm they are.

Update: Just looked up the yellow ones and they are yellow cabbage butterflys.
 
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It goes eggs, caterpillar, pupa, butterfly.
The pupa are what overwinter, then hatch as butterflies in Spring which lay eggs. Those eggs can go through the stages to be butterflies laying more eggs by mid-summer, Then those will hatch as caterpillars to become an Autumn pupa and overwinter.

I may be wrong, but I can't see why the butterflies would prefer the nasturtiums to cabbages and I would suspect it is just giving them an extra place breed.

One butterfly lays about two hundred eggs, plenty to go round all the plants if you have five or six in the garden, that's only about 3% survival rate from your first butterfly.

A badminton racket is a good weapon for the flying stage, which is the multiplying one.
So presumably cabbage white problems increase each year that you grow things they like?

(Which is my observation thus far - year one I managed an early uncovered crop of brassicas.

I haven't grown many since as I've been ripping them up as soon as the cabbage whites get them, but my garden is chock full of nasturtiums - a breeding ground! I thought they'd been INCREASING my chances of growing brassicas, but common sense tells you this can't be the case.

They don't seem to have many predators.
 
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Depends a bit what they are, my kale got badly hit, but now it is a bit colder they are putting on a lot of new growth.
It's silly squeamishness on my part. Once they've had creepy crawlies on them I'm put off eating them. I need to just get over it.
 
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I understand what you mean, and they are so well camouflaged you really have to be very careful none get through. Cooked caterpillars are even worse, sometimes I wonder if all the effort of dealing with the problem is worth it when shop brassicas are pest free and relatively cheap, and then I think 'why'. Because they are grown with artificial fertiliser and sprayed about five times in their lifespan.
Makes organically fed caterpillars that can be seen and dealt with seem positively good.
 

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