Something’s Eating My Broccoli – or the Big Swirley

Well, here we go.  Something is feasting mightily on my broccoli plants.  Now, mind you, the plants are getting big, but as of yet, no broccoli.  So, low and behold, Saturday morning I’m checking for signs of the green stuff when what to my wandering eyes should appear but a miniature worm and eight tiny reindeer ( oops, sorry, got carried away).   Not  just one caterpillar, but many, many little green squirmy things!    They are reating HUGE HOLES in my broccoli leaves. 


This damage is mild compared to some other plants

This damage is mild compared to some other plants

 Some leaves have been eaten completely away!  I ran to my organic gardening resource material and yes, my friend, there are many caterpillars that love to feast on growing veggies – no surprise – but WHAT DO I DO!?!  Pick them off, is the answer in the book or use “an organic pesticide.”  So, being in a hurry to do I don’t remember what, I opt for the picking off method since I don’t have time to research the other option.  Out come the ice tongs and a cup and off they come, one at a time, leaving little threads of silk floating in the air.  About 10 of the little suckers.  And what punishment fits this heinous crime?  They deserve nothing less than the big swirley – or for you  novices,  flushing down the toilet. 

So, feeling vindicated at having saved the precious broccoli I go about my business.  Sunday morning arrives and NO, IT CAN’T BE TRUE!!!  Not just more of the awful creatures, but LOTS MORE!!!  This is what I found….


This is a 1/4 cup measure.  You can see they are eager to slip over the edge and get back to the feast.  They got the same sentence as their other partners in crime.  But, I can’t stay outside all day and pick off the little suckers, so what can I try next?  My Mom suggested spraying soapy water on them and see what happens.  Oh, my!  You should have been there.  I almost felt guilty for making them suffer.  One or two sprays and they are raising their little heads as if gasping for breath, rolling over exposing their soft white underbellies.  I left them there and went back later to check and they were gone.  I had given all the plants a good spray with the mixture and saw no more interlopers that evening.  I will check them tonight and see what’s up.  We had a good rain last night and some today so the soap may have been washed off.    Wonder if this will work with the infamous squash bugs I have been told are rampant here in Oklahoma?   

On a lighter note, the cukes and dill are coming up!   Saw a lady bug on the lettuce. Now that’s my kind of bug!

Keep it simple.

Update on the great tomato experiment.  It failed.  The last of the seedlings withered away to nothingness, so I visited my locally owned farm store and bought six big lovely plants – 2 Better Boys, 2 Juliettes and 2 cherry.  So far so good.  They made it through the weekend :-).


7 thoughts on “Something’s Eating My Broccoli – or the Big Swirley

  1. Hi,

    I used to garden like you do, but where I live I have too many deer and groundhogs that devour everything so now I container garden. Anyway I did try broccoli once and had the same thing. I’m sure you know this but if you get any slugs that eat your veggie leaves, put out a pie pan with some beer in it and the slugs will drown in it. Yes it does work. Well that’s my two cents for today…lol


  2. I bought some floating row cover to put over the broccoli and it worked wonders: no worms. I just throw it over the plants and weight it down with rocks. I highly recommend it. I got mine at Gardener’s Supply Catalog.

    • Wow, great idea. I’ve seen it in the catalogs but being such a newbie at this didn’t even think about it. Do you think it will work on squash bugs? They are so prevalent here that even though my squash is barely up yet, I am just waiting.

    • Actually, it worked quite well. I used it on a smaller scale one or two more times as I would see new encroachers, but overall it was very successful. Or maybe they just got their fill and left! 🙂 Thanks for posting!

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