Then this morning I got the following email from a rooftop gardener in NYC, so I know cabbage loopers are making the rounds this year:
Hi Amy, I hope this email finds you well. Had a frustrating morning of discovering my bibb lettuce was gnawed away, holes in my sage and my mint halfway eaten though. I saw a few little green caterpillar culprits, so after a little searching it seems like these enemies may be cabbage loopers?
And so for anyone dealing with loopers currently, here is an easy solution (and my response to the above email):
How long have you had the rooftop garden? Did you plant anything in this pot before the lettuce? (*) Cabbage loopers typically like members of the brassica family - cabbage, broccoli, sometimes kale. (editorial note: I also found a paper siting looper issues for lettuce production in AZ!) Did you notice white moths/butterflies llying around about a week or two ago?
For Cabbage loopers you have them, so now you'll have to pick them off and squish them. From there, you can cover your pots with Floating Row Cover, which will prevent them from landing on your crops. Not super pretty, to wrap all your plants in spun white cloth, but effective. Keep me posted! amyp