Not only does their color and texture contrast nicely with the leafy greens, their fragrant foliage is naturally repellent to many pests. At that point, if necessary, he sprays it with a pesticide, specifically an insecticidal soap. I don’t even fancy kale as much as you health nuts out there, but for some reason I’m growing a lot of it. The same pests that like cabbage and kale will also flock to collards if given the chance. They are natural predators of many aphids that prey on kale and other cole crops, and they will not harm the kale. Choosing to use homemade pest control means fewer bugs and fewer toxic chemicals in the garden. Clove oil helps keep numerous flying insects at bay. Be sure to drain the leaves on a towel and pat dry or spin them in a salad spinner until all the water is off the leaves. This is especially useful in removing soft-bodied aphids, which commonly attack kale. They’re green and often have markings on their back that are lighter in color. Bad News Butterflies. QUESTION: I have a few cabbage plants in my garden. To make a basic bug spray, simply stir 2 tbsp. 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. As best as possible, leave any crop debris from non-diseased plants on your soil surface or near your garden beds since there are likely predatory insect eggs (and yes, pest eggs too) on the debris – this also helps feed your soil as the old roots are decomposed by microorganisms. "Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things"; Marylin Bader, et al. How do I keep bugs from eating my cabbage plants? She recommends setting the bugs you pick off to the side, for the birds to get to. Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →, Capital District Community Gardens: Garden Pests and Diseases. Young kale seedlings are especially susceptible to beetle and caterpillar attacks. Kale is a cold-hardy, leafy green well-suited to life in cooler climates. Pepper spray. Slugs eat leaves using a raspy tongue with tough spots that rub against the leaves. Everyone wants to grow kale. When in the garden, inspect the undersides of leaves for whiteflies. The surfactants in the detergent clog the insects’ breathing apparatus and smother them. Garlic. Identifying the culprit is the first step in eliminating the pest and protecting your crops. Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Mix 5 tablespoons of dish soap with 4 cups of water in a bottle and spray plants with the solution. 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. 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. 5. Use physical barriers. If you seal your row covers completely immediately after transplanting your kale, they can keep flea beetles away. With gloved hands, pick them off at least once a week. ... “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. Kathryn Jones is a versatile style writer and passionate gardener with nearly 15 years’ experience in both fields. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. The spicy flavor and strong scent will keep many unwanted pests at bay. Homemade insect sprays keep pests under control by coating visible bugs and vulnerable kale foliage with slippery soaps and pungent spices. Use the organic bug spray recipe ALL OVER your susceptible crops – I used it all over my broccoli, 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. Heavy infestations are identified when 10 percent or more of the kale is wilting or showing signs of pest distress such as holes in the leaves. Make it a routine to check over your plants once or twice per week. Flea beetles begin to leave their winter habitat when the temperature reaches 50°F (10°C). If slugs and snails are destroying your vegetable garden, cedar wood and pine oils can help fight both these vegetable garden pests. Slugs and caterpillarsboth eat cabbages, and the key to protecting cabbages is determining which pest is destroying your crop. 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 ; 2005. Clear up any surrounding debris and keep your plants in check. You can save your seedlings by delaying planting or transplanting your kale for about two weeks after temperatures warm to that point. Spray kale with an organic insecticide in the event of heavy infestations. Sent by Erin Editor: Readers, how do you make sure your kale is clean? Mix water and a few drops of nontoxic dish detergent and put it into a spray bottle. Keep weeds away from your plants to reduce habitat for insects. 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. Hand-picking the worms off will slow an infestation (but if your infestation is anything like the one I had on my kale last season, you will never win). Spritz the kale leaves with the soapy water. These plants have hardy leaves that will stand up to water spraying once per day. Alternatively, flowers such as marigolds can lure beneficial insects into the garden to prey on harmful bugs, reducing the need for chemical pesticides. How do I keep bugs off my kale? This preference for cold weather helps keep kale pests to a minimum, although insects such as aphids, cabbage loopers, leafhoppers and flea beetles can occasionally become a problem. Rosemary oil can help protect your vegetable garden from fleas, flies, mosquitoes and more importantly insect larvae such as the cabbage looper caterpillar. If … Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." Kale can keep a really long time in your fridge, but you worked so hard for it - you should enjoy it soon. So much so that it’s contagious. (You can crush them or drown them in a jar full of soapy water.) While kale is a relatively low-maintenance crop that draws few serious pests, from time to time insects may invade a particularly lush plot. 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. 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.. Prevention is always the fist line of defense when it comes to any garden pests. Beer. Pyrethrum spray. Drop them into a bucket of soapy water to kill them and ensure they will not return to infest your kale. Spritz the kale leaves with the soapy water. Alternatively, flowers such as marigolds can lure beneficial insects into the garden to prey on harmful bugs, reducing the need for chemical pesticides. Insects are interdependent, so if one type is encouraged by weeds or other foods they may like, the ones who prefer leafy greens may move in too. Soapy water. Sneaky cabbage worms will also lay along the center vein of a kale leaf, blending in and perfectly disguised. Leafminers are tiny black flies with yellow spots that often chew holes in cole crop leaves. Alcohol spray. This coats the leaves with a bitter residue that repels bugs, while also suffocating any existing pests. This farmer says he only removes his row cover once the plant, say broccoli or cauliflower, has started forming a head. I was pleasantly surprised by the results. Kale plant protection for next year’s crop begins after the fall harvest. Herbal water spray. I actually don’t want to do this. -Jim L. ANSWER: Cabbage plants are enticing to a vast array of bugs and pests that can harm the plant significantly if left untreated. Kale is a cold-hardy, leafy green well-suited to life in cooler climates. If there are only a few worms, simply pick them off the plant, and squish them. The mixture will repel the worms from the plant. Release parasitic wasps into your garden to kill cabbageworms and leafminers. Mix water and a few drops of nontoxic dish detergent and put it into a spray bottle. 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. A cool-season vegetable, kale does best when planted in the early spring or late fall as it tends to bolt in hot weather. While sprays are convenient, inexpensive and simple to make, they must be reapplied regularly to be fully effective. 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… 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. They can serve many purposes, but one is to keep bugs off crops. While sprays are convenient, inexpensive and simple to make, they must be reapplied regularly to be fully effective. All Rights Reserved. of liquid detergent into 1 gallon of water and apply the solution to any affected plants. They’ll eat up your chard until they turn into adults. Many insects that damage kale, spread diseases overwinter in plant debris left in the garden at the end of the season. To make a basic bug spray, simply stir 2 tbsp. When bringing new plants home, check to ensure they are free of both whiteflies and viruses. Spray the entire cabbage plant, including the underside of leaves. Hand pick beetles and caterpillars off kale leaves as needed. Homemade insect sprays keep pests under control by coating visible bugs and vulnerable kale foliage with slippery soaps and pungent spices. of liquid detergent into 1 gallon of water and apply the solution to any affected plants. Then toss them into a plastic bag to store and into your fridge. https://homeguides.sfgate.com/naturally-kill-bugs-kale-79436.html Well-chosen companion plants can ward off unwanted pests all season long. Use a magnifying glass or hand lens to check for whitefly eggs, nymphs, or adults. Spraying your plants with a jet of water might be enough to knock the caterpillars off too. Caraway, fennel and spearmint draw in minute pirate bugs and damsel bugs which also feed on other insects. When these lightweight, translucent fabrics are draped over the plants, they shield the foliage from the outside world. Fortunately, there are several easy home remedies that effectively remove insect pests while posing no threat to children, pets or plants. I don’t want to puncture the pure and easy-growing image that kale has. 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. Weeds harbor pests, so keep your kale garden weed-free to help prevent infestations. These pests are known to chew holes through kale leaves, but they can be killed through natural and nontoxic means. Bug Off! I found this aphid killing solution at this website: Sprays for Aphids. Cabbageworms are white butterflies with black spots that lay their larvae in kale leaves. Plant kale in a well-drained bed that receives about six hours of direct daily sunlight. Neem oil spray. Row covers work great to protect your crops from a wide variety of pests, including: cabbageworms, flea beetles, squash bugs, potato beetles, root … Highly aromatic herbs such as lavender or basil grow well when planted next to kale. How do you thoroughly clean your kale? Space the … Fresh, young kale leaves can also be protected from pests with physical barriers such as floating row covers or mesh netting. 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. For a more thorough elimination, mix 1 tablespoon dish soap with 1 cup vegetable oil, and 1 cup water. Classic methods such as putting cups of beer or milk in your garden are surprisingly effective. Tarnished plant bug. She enjoys sharing best practices on a host of gardening topics, including container gardening, organic gardening, water gardening, composting and gluten-free recipes from the garden. Also known as lygus bugs, these are tiny 0.25” bugs that start out as nymphs. A useful method for keeping garden pests off your vegetables is to put a barrier between the pest and your plants. In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series. Fill with beer or milk and let it … © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. After spraying the solution on the kale plants and leaving it for 4-6 hours, I rechecked the plants. In North America, harlequin bugs wait until the weather warms in … The surfactants in the detergent clog the insects’ breathing apparatus and smother them. Harlequin Bugs. “So we don’t plant those leafy vegetables when the … Keep Pests Away With Organic Strategies. 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. 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