This tasty salad green can even survive light snows, allowing gardeners as far north as USDA Hardiness Zone 5 to harvest fresh vegetables all winter long. Young kale seedlings are especially susceptible to beetle and caterpillar attacks. Everyone loves butterflies, but there is one butterfly that I bet you don’t love, especially if you are trying to grow broccoli, kale, cabbage, or any other cole crop: the White Cabbage Butterfly (Pieris rapae), also known as the Imported White Cabbage Moth.. You can save your seedlings by delaying planting or transplanting your kale for about two weeks after temperatures warm to that point. Fill with beer or milk and let it … -Jim L. ANSWER: Cabbage plants are enticing to a vast array of bugs and pests that can harm the plant significantly if left untreated. The material allows the kale to receive both sunlight and water, but the fabric blocks access to the leaves. This is especially useful in removing soft-bodied aphids, which commonly attack kale. The mixture will repel the worms from the plant. ... “We have a real problem with flea beetles, which don’t really damage our kale, collards, and mustards, but they leave these shotgun holes that make the plants look undesirable,” he says. If … This common vegetable is referred to as a cole crop because it is a member of the mustard family, and it is susceptible to infestations of insects and worms that commonly attack cole crop vegetables. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! Homemade insect sprays keep pests under control by coating visible bugs and vulnerable kale foliage with slippery soaps and pungent spices. Not only does their color and texture contrast nicely with the leafy greens, their fragrant foliage is naturally repellent to many pests. How do I keep bugs off my kale? ; 2005. Sent by Erin Editor: Readers, how do you make sure your kale is clean? A useful method for keeping garden pests off your vegetables is to put a barrier between the pest and your plants. Spray kale with an organic insecticide in the event of heavy infestations. Cabbageworms are white butterflies with black spots that lay their larvae in kale leaves. If the idea of handpicking caterpillars off of your kale plants makes you squeamish, you can also control the pests by spraying your plants with Bt. Create a longer-lasting repellent by adding a few tablespoons of garlic, onion powder, red pepper or hot sauce to the soapy water before spraying it on the plants. If slugs and snails are destroying your vegetable garden, cedar wood and pine oils can help fight both these vegetable garden pests. In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series. Spritz the kale leaves with the soapy water. Natural Remedies for Bugs on Cabbage Plants, University of Connecticut Integrated Pest Management: Cole Crop Worms (Caterpillar Pests), Black Caterpillars With Yellow Stripes That Eat Broccoli Leaves. Also known as lygus bugs, these are tiny 0.25” bugs that start out as nymphs. Kale can keep a really long time in your fridge, but you worked so hard for it - you should enjoy it soon. Clear up any surrounding debris and keep your plants in check. Bad News Butterflies. This coats the leaves with a bitter residue that repels bugs, while also suffocating any existing pests. Garlic. Use the organic bug spray recipe ALL OVER your susceptible crops – I used it all over my broccoli, At that point, if necessary, he sprays it with a pesticide, specifically an insecticidal soap. Identifying the culprit is the first step in eliminating the pest and protecting your crops. Use physical barriers. Bug Off! Homemade insect sprays keep pests under control by coating visible bugs and vulnerable kale foliage with slippery soaps and pungent spices. I actually don’t want to do this. These pests are known to chew holes through kale leaves, but they can be killed through natural and nontoxic means. Create a longer-lasting repellent by adding a few tablespoons of garlic, onion powder, red pepper or hot sauce to the soapy water before spraying it on th… I was pleasantly surprised by the results. These plants have hardy leaves that will stand up to water spraying once per day. Slugs and caterpillarsboth eat cabbages, and the key to protecting cabbages is determining which pest is destroying your crop. of liquid detergent into 1 gallon of water and apply the solution to any affected plants. Neem oil spray. I found this aphid killing solution at this website: Sprays for Aphids. Release ladybugs onto your kale plants. 5. of liquid detergent into 1 gallon of water and apply the solution to any affected plants. They’re green and often have markings on their back that are lighter in color. If there are only a few worms, simply pick them off the plant, and squish them. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →, Capital District Community Gardens: Garden Pests and Diseases. Q: Sometimes when I buy organic or local kale, there are little insects and debris lodged in the fronds, and it takes some effort to make sure it’s all clean. Hand pick beetles and caterpillars off kale leaves as needed. Kale plant protection for next year’s crop begins after the fall harvest. Mix 5 tablespoons of dish soap with 4 cups of water in a bottle and spray plants with the solution. Fortunately, there are several easy home remedies that effectively remove insect pests while posing no threat to children, pets or plants. While kale is a relatively low-maintenance crop that draws few serious pests, from time to time insects may invade a particularly lush plot. When you’re out on the hunt, keep in mind that cabbage worms are most often found on the underside of leaves, or tucked in the new growth at the plant’s center. While sprays are convenient, inexpensive and simple to make, they must be reapplied regularly to be fully effective. Mix water and a few drops of nontoxic dish detergent and put it into a spray bottle. How do I keep bugs from eating my cabbage plants? Homemade insect sprays keep pests under control by coating visible bugs and vulnerable kale foliage with slippery soaps and pungent spices. Spraying your plants with a jet of water might be enough to knock the caterpillars off too. Sneaky cabbage worms will also lay along the center vein of a kale leaf, blending in and perfectly disguised. Fall cleanup, including disposal of plant debris and turning the soil to expose insects goes a long way toward preventing problems in the spring.. Kale Plant Protection Space the … Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. Ladybugs, for example, are attracted to dill. Kale is a cold-hardy, leafy green well-suited to life in cooler climates. Herbal water spray. Spritz the kale leaves with the soapy water. In North America, harlequin bugs wait until the weather warms in … Everyone wants to grow kale. I keep noticing holes in the outer leaves. Alternatively, flowers such as marigolds can lure beneficial insects into the garden to prey on harmful bugs, reducing the need for chemical pesticides. Weeds harbor pests, so keep your kale garden weed-free to help prevent infestations. Pepper spray. Spray kale with strong jets of water from a garden hose to physically remove pests that may be on the leaves. Fresh, young kale leaves can also be protected from pests with physical barriers such as floating row covers or mesh netting. Kale is a cold-hardy, leafy green well-suited to life in cooler climates. Use a magnifying glass or hand lens to check for whitefly eggs, nymphs, or adults. While sprays are convenient, inexpensive and simple to make, they must be reapplied regularly to be fully effective. Rosemary oil can help protect your vegetable garden from fleas, flies, mosquitoes and more importantly insect larvae such as the cabbage looper caterpillar. Kale (Brassica oleracea) is a type of ornamental cabbage that is hardy in all U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones. After spraying the solution on the kale plants and leaving it for 4-6 hours, I rechecked the plants. Keep Pests Away With Organic Strategies. Classic methods such as putting cups of beer or milk in your garden are surprisingly effective. Well-chosen companion plants can ward off unwanted pests all season long. Alcohol spray. keeping the bugs away, naturally With all this rain we’ve been having over the last fortnight I’ve barely even looked at our garden. Slugs eat leaves using a raspy tongue with tough spots that rub against the leaves. A cool-season vegetable, kale does best when planted in the early spring or late fall as it tends to bolt in hot weather. She recommends setting the bugs you pick off to the side, for the birds to get to. All Rights Reserved. The surfactants in the detergent clog the insects’ breathing apparatus and smother them. Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." The same pests that like cabbage and kale will also flock to collards if given the chance. Caraway, fennel and spearmint draw in minute pirate bugs and damsel bugs which also feed on other insects. “So we don’t plant those leafy vegetables when the … Keep weeds away from your plants to reduce habitat for insects. To make a basic bug spray, simply stir 2 tbsp. Unlike other cabbage family relatives, such as kale, collards can handle a bit of heat, making them a preferred crop for gardeners in warmer areas. Clove oil helps keep numerous flying insects at bay. The next year I grew them under a light, floating row cover (sometimes called Remay, garden fabric, or frost blanket) to try and keep the bugs out so we could at least harvest some of the heads. When in the garden, inspect the undersides of leaves for whiteflies. So much so that it’s contagious. They are natural predators of many aphids that prey on kale and other cole crops, and they will not harm the kale. Pyrethrum spray. (You can crush them or drown them in a jar full of soapy water.) Drop them into a bucket of soapy water to kill them and ensure they will not return to infest your kale. Leafminers are tiny black flies with yellow spots that often chew holes in cole crop leaves. Soapy water. They can serve many purposes, but one is to keep bugs off crops. Flea beetles begin to leave their winter habitat when the temperature reaches 50°F (10°C). Kathryn Jones is a versatile style writer and passionate gardener with nearly 15 years’ experience in both fields. Believe me, I tried everything to get those things off – vinegar, warm water, hot water, boiling water – but they were so thick there was no way to get them out of all the crevices in the heads. To make a basic bug spray, simply stir 2 tbsp. The surfactants in the detergent clog the insects’ breathing apparatus and smother them. This rasp makes the hole in your cabbage leaves wide next to the slug, and the hole narrows as it moves away from the slugs. 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