Country Lore: Cabbage Worm Control

You don't need expensive, dangerous pesticides. Sprinkling used coffee grounds and crushed eggshells around your plants will provide effective cabbage worm control and more besides.
By Mindy Moore
February/March 2009
Add to My MSN

Try the cabbage worm control method suggested by our reader and see if it doesn't keep you plants as healthy and whole.

Content Tools

I want to share my tip for cabbage worm control. It has enabled to grow beautiful heads of cabbage that are not riddled with the dreaded pest. 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 crushed 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 cabbage worms. Now I plan to use this technique next year with my turnips.

Mindy Moore
Glade Spring, Virginia

Most kinds of “cabbage worms” 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. We can see it now: “Starbucks’ Premium Organic Pesticide, $19.95 per bag.” — MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Post a comment below.


2/2/2009 9:26:06 AM
For the coffee grounds, Starbucks does indeed know the can pick bags of grounds for free at any location. Just ask about "grounds for the garden."

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.