This is my first year growing kale. The caterpillars are loving it and have made holes in practically every leaf. What would you do?
It feels late in the season to put much effort in trying to get rid of them, but I would like to preserve the kale. Is it fine to eat it if I scrub the leaves before cooking? (even though they have holes in them?) Or should we only be eating leaves they haven't munched on?
Any recommendations for preventing this in the future. (we have raised beds)
Mama to Ainsley (7/01) , Finley (10/06) and Jade (10/06)
No reason not to eat the leaves with holes -- they can't hurt you and it doesn't affect the taste. As far as control/prevention, I just hand-pick caterpillars and moth larvae and throw them over the wall. As they grow, they will become amazingly voracious and can decimate your kale.
Eh, go ahead and eat em. Actually, your kale will get very happy with cool weather approaching. Here in Carolina we grow it Sept- April.
You can either hand pick the worms or use a biorational called bT. Try to keep it away from flower gardens though as it kills all butterfly/moth family larvae, and you only want to target the cabbage worms.