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Vegetable plot

United Kingdom Gb

This year has been my first year at attempting to grow vegetables, tomatoes and herbs. All in all it has been pretty successful. Apart from finding big fat furry caterpillars when I pulled up my cauliflowers - they were absolutely everywhere in the soil, on top of the soil. It's obvious that they have been feeding off the leaves because they are peppered with holes. Am sure that these will just die off or become butterflies but can they lay eggs that will infest my nutrient rich compost? And I have also discovered some "grubs" in my soil, will these die off during the winter months? And one last question, I have a compost bin that will be ripe for using next Spring but obviously will be full of worms etc. How do I use this compost without worrying about my crops being munched through? Please be kind to a novice, these questions may seem easy to answer to those experts out there but not to me!



Hi Gk,
1) Caterpillars cannot lay eggs. They turn into butterflies/moths and it is these that lay the eggs. The caterpilars that you have now will eat the cauliflower leaves but nothing else.
2) Whether or not the grubs in the soil will die off will depend on how severe a winter you have. Normally they will be able to hibernate in the soil and be there for next season. I would suggest removing what you find as you go along. If the soil is badly infested then dig it over several times until next sowing season so that the birds can have a go at the grubs.
3) The worms in your compost bin are goodies and should be encouraged. These will not munch through your crops and can be safely spread on the ground with the compost.
Have a good growing season.

15 Aug, 2009

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