I want to share my tip for growing beautiful heads of cabbage that are not riddled with the dreaded cabbageworm. Last spring I planted ‘Stonehead’ and ‘Early Jersey Wakefield’ cabbage plants. I surrounded them with a mixture of used coffee grounds (saved by all my extended family members) and crumbled eggshells (from our farm). Beautiful, perfect heads of cabbage grew without the use of pesticides.
Worms will not crawl over the sharp eggshell fragments, and the smell of the coffee grounds kept the deer and rabbits away. I planted more cabbage for a fall harvest without using the mixture, and they were destroyed by cabbageworms. Now I plan to use this technique next year with my turnips.
Glade Spring, Virginia
Most kinds of “cabbageworms” hatch from eggs laid on plants by moths and they generally don’t crawl on the ground. Our best guess is that the odor from the coffee grounds is repelling or confusing the moths so they can’t find the plants, while the eggshells might well be repelling slugs and snails that also cause holes in leaves of many garden crops. We would like readers to try this tip this year and report back by posting comments to this article, below. We can see it now: “Starbucks’ Premium Organic Pesticide, $19.95 per bag.” — Mother