There is no shortage of chemicals that can be applied to your vegetables that will leave them pristinely pest-free, but some find the idea of munching invisible pesticide residues unpalatable. One alternative is physical removal of the blighters. Issue forth into the cabbage patch with a bucket, find, for example, the caterpillars of the cabbage white butterfly lurking underneath the leaves, and remove them with finger and thumb. Some like to squidge them immediately, but those of more delicate sensibilities may prefer to drop them onto some paving for the birds to polish off. Their need is greater than ours.

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