Caterpillars! They sure look cute and kids love finding them in the garden but boy can they cause some destruction! When I first started working in the school garden the students were so excited to show me the caterpillars that lived there. They thought of them almost like pets. That was until I explained that they were the reason the poor kale plants were looking the worse for wear. Well, then the hunt was on to rid the garden of each and every little green caterpillar that lived there. I must say the kids did a wonderful job. We no longer have caterpillars living in our school vegie patch. I know this because I gave my students in prep, year 1 and year 2 a nature treasure hunt to do a couple of weeks ago and a caterpillar was one of the objects they had to find. They searched high and low and could not find one!
How did the kids manage to rid our vegie patch of all the caterpillars? They simply picked them off! They loved hunting for them, picking them off and then putting them in the rubbish bin at school (this was prior to having our chooks). I would often walk out at recess and lunch time to find a group of kids surrounding the various garden beds searching for the little critters.
So if you’re vegie patch is looking a little chewed on, send the kids outside on a caterpillar hunt. Get them to look hard as they can be difficult to find. They can quite often be found on the underside of leaves that have been munched. It should keep your little green thumbs occupied for a while.