Essential oils can not only help us heal our bodies. They are also very handy in gardening, as a pest deterrent. We have used this recipe to discourage cabbage worms from eating our broccoli, cabbage, kale, and other plants.
It also works against many types of caterpillars, and does not seem to discourage Lady bugs or the Preying Mantis–both of which are beneficial pest eating bugs for your garden.
I found this recipe through dowsing, and it seems to work very well. I sprayed it twice in one week, after finding a large infestation of cabbage worms in several areas of our high tunnel garden.
By the second spraying, the infestation was down to just a few worms where there had been many.
The following week I sprayed again, even though we were not finding worms on 90% of our crops. It seems they have relocated, although we are prepared to spray again if they reappear. This formula does not seem to kill the caterpillars, but does make them go elsewhere quickly!
How to Tell That You Have Cabbage Worms
- Small to medium sized green caterpillars on the underside of leaves, especially broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, kale. Possibly other plants too.
- Large holes in leaves, begin to make the leaf look like lace.
- Small black droppings on leaves.
- Occasional cocoons on the underside of leaves.
- May see small grayish moths.
Recipe for Cabbage Worm Spray
1 gallon of water
2 tablespoons Dr. Bronner’s soap (or other castille soap)
10 drops cayenne CO2 extract
20 drops peppermint essential oil
2 drops garlic essential oil (contact us for availability) or 1 clove of garlic mixed in blender with 1 cup water
Shake well. Put spray in a garden sprayer or spray bottle. Spray tops and undersides of leaves.