The main pest you have to watch for is the cabbage moth. They lay their eggs on any of the Brassica family (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower). If you don't want to use any pesticides, then you need to cover the plant with a fine mesh cloth that won't inhibit the growth, which is pinned to the ground to keep it from blowing off. Or cover the entire row or section with floating row covers, pinning these to the ground as well. The cabbage moth lays it's eggs, which then turn to green worms.
You can also use BTK or MVP (both available from the Garden's Alive catalog). This is actually an organism which the caterpillars ingest while feeding on the plant. From what I've read, it makes them stop eating, as if it causes their system to believe they are full, and they starve to death. It only seems to affect caterpillars, not other leaf chewing pests, and since most moths and butterflies are very particular about what type of plant they will lay their eggs on, it doesn't harm other types. You can also use it on tomato plants against the tomato hornworm or corn earworm, use it on corn (the silks when they first start coming out) against the corn earworm, pepper plants, etc. It does need to be reapplied after a rain.
Swallowtail butterflies lay their eggs on carrot family plants (carrots, queen anne's lace, parsley, dill), and monarchs lay their eggs on milkweed plants (common milkweed as well as ornamental asclepias), so as long as you don't spray on those plants, you won't hurt them. The swallowtail caterpillars never seem to eat enough to harm any of my plants, so I would never spray those.
Edited by: CBRINKLEY401 at: 1/10/2013 (10:41)
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