Who’s Been Eating My Cauliflower? – by Mikail, Shiv, and Kai

Our class’ unit of inquiry was on making sustainable consumer choices. We thought it would be interesting to do something related to food. One day Ms. Estelle, our classroom teacher, told us that the garden was overrun by moth caterpillars, and they were eating the plants! Ms. Nina, a parent who helps in the garden, needed help to keep caterpillars away from the plants. So, we decided to help her with pesticides.

The Best Approach

A pesticide is a chemical substance that keeps insects away from plants. It is usually very bad for the environment and our health. As our school garden is organic, we wanted to know which organic pesticides will work best at keeping the bugs away from the plants. It’s important because this stops all the bugs from eating all the plants.

The three pesticides we tried are: a trap made out nonalcoholic beer, mashed eggshells around the base of the plant, and finally a spray made from neem oil, peppermint oil, baking soda, detergent and two liters of water. We also took the caterpillars away from the garden to relocate them. We even have a few as a class pet!

The Hypothesis

Our hypothesis is that the spray made from neem oil, peppermint oil, baking soda, dishwashing detergent, and two liters of water will work the best. We think this will work best because we spray the plants twice a day; once before class starts and before we go home.

What we found out so far

So far, we have found out that the spray and eggshells are the best pesticide for keeping bugs away from the plants. We have noticed there are fewer caterpillars in the garden beds with these organic pesticides. We will continue this project until the end of the school year. We hope that caterpillars will stop eating the garden’s cauliflower and everything else!

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