I really like planting broccoli in my garden. It grows well here, it doesn’t take up too much space, I can usually harvest two rounds of it per plant, and it’s one of my (and Lula’s) favorite veggies.
The first year broccoli grew in my garden, I noticed holes showed up on the leaves of the broccoli plants. Putting two and two together, I surmised that something was munching on the broccoli leaves.
What exactly was that something? Here’s an extremely poor quality photo taken a year or two ago to show my sister!
Before gardening, I was never familiar with the green caterpillars/ worms lurking in the recesses of broccoli plants or more importantly, how to get rid of them. I certainly did not want to spray a pesticide on the broccoli so I left the caterpillars alone until harvest time.
I found information online about how to get rid of these babies and thought it might be nice to do a tutorial with photographs (more caterpillar pictures below).
Once your crowns are full, cut them, break them, whatever you do before bringing them inside. Try to harvest them when they are ready, not when they have begun to turn a little yellow, meaning they are overripe? overdone?…which is what I did.
I like to rinse the crowns thoroughly because let’s be real- there are all kinds of bugs, cobwebs, etc. on garden produce. Water alone (in my experience) doesn’t seem to get rid of these caterpillars. What does? Believe it or not, vinegar! I cut my broccoli crowns into florets and place them in a large bowl with about a teaspoon or so of white vinegar, then I add enough water to fill the bowl completely.I let them soak for 15-20 minutes and slowly but surely these guys start to make an appearance.
If you didn’t quite see it…
I don’t like to touch these- I’m not a squeamish person about most things but for some reason these gross me out so a fork comes in handy! Let’s look at one last shot…
I’m shuddering as I type this.
Most years, I find about 10-20 of these in a few crowns of broccoli. This year? I found two in three decent size crowns. I don’t know if that’s due to the heat coming a little earlier this year or if they were all hanging out somewhere else when I crashed the party. Are these babies harmful? I doubt it…and it got me thinking about if they might also be hiding in store-bought broccoli.
I better not even go there.
Ignorance is bliss, right?