Learn how to use organic solutions to protect your leafy green garden plants from damaging cabbage worms.The adults come and lay their eggs on the leaves of cabbage, leaf lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and kale and other leafy greens.Introduce natural predators of the cabbage worm such as larvae of Trichogramma wasps, which devour the eggs before they hatch.Sprinkle diamotacious earth on and around each plant, which is a powder made up of the tiny, fossilized remains of aquatic organisms.These tiny fossils have sharp edges that puncture the outer skin of insects, which leads to their death.I filled a unused spice jar with wide holes with the diamotacious earth and sprinkled it over and around my leafy greens. .

Are Leafy Greens with Holes in Them Safe to Eat?

As a gardener, you’re undoubtedly familiar with that perpetual question when you find that something has been nibbling on your greens: Are they safe to eat?If you pick the leafy vegetables that you so lovingly tended through the season, and you discover that something – or someone – has been enjoying their own feast before you had a chance to harvest your crops, are they safe to consume?Greens with holes in them that were created by feeding insects or slugs should be fine to eat, if you cut away the damaged parts.These animals can spread dangerous strains of E. coli (the “lab rat” of bacteria and a common ingredient in feces), as well as Salmonella.However, according to Anna Rovid Spickler, veterinary specialist from the Center for Food Security and Public Health, “all reptiles can be sources.” It may behoove you to err on the side of caution if you find lizards in your garden as well.You may have caught the news story in 2019 about a 19-year-old Australian rugby player who ate a slug on a dare, and ended up paralyzed after coming out of a 420-day coma.Given the ever-warming temperatures that we now experience due to climate change, experts believe it is just a matter of time before this parasite spreads throughout the continental US.Because these gastropods like to feed on tender garden greens, be sure to always clean your harvest thoroughly to remove any pests that may still be present before enjoying your salad.


Tips for Protecting Kale from Pests and Disease

Despite kale’s tendency to be healthy and vigorous, it can be vulnerable to both diseases and pests under certain conditions.Diseases include several serious bacterial leaf pathogens, along with a number of fungi that can infect the plants.Many types of insects can afflict kale, ranging from cabbage butterflies to thrips and flea beetles.With a bit of diligent care, you can protect your plants from these menaces and have a healthy crop of delectable kale.A variety of pathogens can assault kale, including a number of fungal diseases, those caused by water molds, a nasty nematode, and three truly frightening types of bacteria.Control options range from cultural ones, such as using disease-free seeds that have been heated with 122°F water for 15 minutes, to keeping good airflow between plants, eliminating cruciferous weeds, and rotating crops.This fungus causes dry, circular lesions on the leaves of your kale plants, and can also predispose them to bacterial soft rot.Damping off is responsible for the devastation you feel when your seeds fail to grow – or even worse – your seedlings collapse and die en masse.Although water molds are no longer considered to be fungi, they look similar and can cause devastating diseases on many plants.Downy mildew was considered a fungus for several centuries, and it does in fact resemble one, but additional research has led to its reclassification as a water mold or oomycete, something more akin to algae.As the name suggests, downy mildew causes problems under moist conditions, such as heavy dew, fog, drizzling rain, and high humidity.The serious diseases caused by these two pathogens can be spread by splashing rain or irrigation water on the leaves.Prevention is the best way to control this disease, see our full guide to bacterial leaf spot on kale.Classic symptoms earlier in the infection process include V-shaped lesions along the margins of the leaves.As with bacterial leaf spot, prevention is the best way to save your crop from this lethal disease.You’ll likely discover that you are fighting this caterpillar when you notice leaves that are skeletonized – the result of heavy feeding by the larvae.They have a characteristic dark and light line along the sides of their bodies and yellow or pink undersides.The cabbage looper caterpillars are between 1.5 and 2 inches long and chew large, odd-shaped holes in the foliage.Natural enemies – including ladybugs, pirate bugs, spiders, and wasps – will feast on the eggs and larvae and usually keep these pests under control.The larvae mature in about two weeks and spin a cocoon-like gauze on the stems or leaves in order to pupate.If you know that flea beetles are likely to be a problem in your area, you can set up floating row covers to keep them off your crops.Sprays of neem oil or applications of diatomaceous earth are effective organic options to control these beetles.While the butterflies are pretty, the green, hairy caterpillars can quickly cause extensive damage to your plants.If you expect an infestation because you have had problems in the past, you can set up floating row covers before the butterflies start flying around to lay their eggs.Later in the season, you can control them with pyrethrin or spinosad, although these organic compounds will also harm beneficial insects.If the population in your vegetable patch gets too large to manage and crop damage is significant, you can control them with neem oil or insecticidal soaps. .

How to Recognize and Manage Cabbage Worms in Your Garden

Walking up to your garden and finding that your kale and other greens have hundreds of holes in them is a horrible experience!They do a great job of blending right into whatever vegetable they admire most in your garden, so they are actually very hard to notice at first.When the female white caterpillar butterfly is ready to lay her eggs, she will try to find any cruciferous plants that are available (i.e., cabbage, broccoli, kale, etc.).She will then deposit her eggs on the underside of the leaves where they will eventually hatch into little baby cabbage worms two to three weeks later.These butterflies are extremely common in the United States, and you are able to easily identify them by their white wings.While there are many pesticides that could easily control cabbage worms, your best bet is to use an organic method for the safety of yourself and your plants.Pesticides are not recommended because they will quickly contaminate your soil, grass, and other surrounding plants.Make sure that you are spraying the underside of your leaves too, as insects tend to lay their eggs there.Its name might sound scary, but all it does is paralyze the insect so that it can no longer eat, causing it to eventually die.Not only can you use this on your kale and cabbage, but it is great at combating squash bugs and cucumber beetles!Trust us, it is worth it to have a little reminder so that you are able to enjoy your cruciferous greens and other delicious vegetables all season long.Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters. .

What's With These Holes in My Kale?

The kale is full of holes, something that I have encountered numerous times at my local organic market.According to Joshua Melanson, an organic farmer at Pumpkin Pond Farm, “there is absolutely nothing wrong with the kale.They feed on all types of brassica, such as mustard greens, arugula, broccoli and cabbage, and are very common in organic cropping. .


Singular, or closely grouped circular to irregularly shaped holes in foliage; heavy feeding by young larvae leads to skeletonized leaves; shallow, dry wounds on fruit; egg clusters of 50-150 eggs may be present on the leaves; egg clusters are covered in a whitish scale which gives the cluster a cottony or fuzzy appearance; young larvae are pale green to yellow in color while older larvae are generally darker green with a dark and light line running along the side of their body and a pink or yellow underside.Large populations can cause stunted growth or even plant death; insects may be visible on the plant leaves and are small, grey-green in color and soft bodied and are covered with a white waxy coating; prefer to feed deep down in cabbage head and may be obscured by the leaves.Management If aphid population is limited to just a few leaves or shoots then the infestation can be pruned out to provide control; check transplants for aphids before planting; use tolerant varieties if available; reflective mulches such as silver colored plastic can deter aphids from feeding on plants; sturdy plants can be sprayed with a strong jet of water to knock aphids from leaves; insecticides are generally only required to treat aphids if the infestation is very high - plants generally tolerate low and medium level infestation; insecticidal soaps or oils such as neem or canola oil are usually the best method of control; always check the labels of the products for specific usage guidelines prior to use.Large or small holes in leaves; damage often extensive; caterpillars are pale green with a white lines running down either side of their body; caterpillars are easily distinguished by the way they arch their body when moving; eggs are laid singly, usually on the lower leaf surface close to the leaf margin, and are white or pale green in color.Management Looper populations are usually held in check by natural enemies; if they do become problematic larvae can be hand-picked from the plants; an organically acceptable control method is the application of Bacillus thuringiensis which effectively kills younger larvae; chemical sprays may damage populations of natural enemies and should and should be selected carefully.Stems of young transplants or seedlings may be severed at soil line; if infection occurs later, irregular holes are eaten into the surface of fruits; larvae causing the damage are usually active at night and hide during the day in the soil at the base of the plants or in plant debris of toppled plant; larvae are 2.5–5.0 cm (1–2 in) in length; larvae may exhibit a variety of patterns and coloration but will usually curl up into a C-shape when disturbed.Management Remove all plant residue from soil after harvest or at least two weeks before planting, this is especially important if the previous crop was another host such as alfalfa, beans or a leguminous cover crop; plastic or foil collars fitted around plant stems to cover the bottom 3 inches above the soil line and extending a couple of inches into the soil can prevent larvae severing plants; hand-pick larvae after dark; spread diatomaceous earth around the base of the plants (this creates a sharp barrier that will cut the insects if they try and crawl over it); apply appropriate insecticides to infested areas of garden or field if not growing organically.Small holes or pits in leaves that give the foliage a characteristic “shothole” appearance; young plants and seedlings are particularly susceptible; plant growth may be reduced; if damage is severe the plant may be killed; the pest responsible for the damage is a small (1.5–3.0 mm) dark colored beetle which jumps when disturbed; the beetles are often shiny in appearance.Management In areas where flea beetles are a problem, floating row covers may have to be used prior to the emergence of the beetles to provide a physical barrier to protect young plants; plant seeds early to allow establishment before the beetles become a problem - mature plants are less susceptible to damage; trap crops may provide a measure of control - cruciferous plants are best; application of a thick layer of mulch may help prevent beetles reaching surface; application on diamotecoeus earth or oils such as neem oil are effective control methods for organic growers; application of insecticides containing carbaryl, spinosad, bifenthrin and permethrin can provide adequate control of beetles for up to a week but will need reapplied.Large ragged holes in leaves or bored into head; green-brown frass (insect feces) on leaves; caterpillar is green in color and hairy, with a velvet-like appearance; may have faint yellow to orange stripes down back; slow-moving compared with other caterpillars.Management Hand-pick caterpillars from plants and destroy; scrape eggs from leaves prior to hatching; apply appropriate insecticide if infestation is very heavy.If population is high leaves may be distorted; leaves are covered in coarse stippling and may appear silvery; leaves speckled with black feces; insect is small (1.5 mm) and slender and best viewed using a hand lens; adult thrips are pale yellow to light brown and the nymphs are smaller and lighter in color. .

Holes In Kale Leaves

In this article, not only are you going to find out all the things that can cause holes in kale leaves, but you’ll also learn the treatment and prevention methods!And as a heads up, generally speaking pests are going to be much easier to treat and prevent compared to disease.Aphids are extremely common pests and if you’re growing plants outdoors, then the chances are at some point you’re going to come into contact with them.A sticky substance which increases the chance of fungus and bacteria growing on your kale.If the problem is more severe then you may also need to introduce a predator such as ladybugs or parasitic wasps to remove them.Just be aware it’s dangerous to bees, and you’ll need to wait a day after spraying your kale with neem oil before you can eat it.If you don’t mind using stronger pesticides, then insecticidal soap can greatly reduce the number of aphids attacking your kale.Just make sure you’re using soap safe for edible crops, and that you’re reading the instructions carefully.Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can prevent aphids from infecting your kale and eating it.If you don’t know, fossilized micro-organisms make Diatomaceous Earth, and on a microscopic level, they’re extremely sharp and damaging.When the flea beetles inhale the DE it’s going to damage their respiratory systems, eventually killing them.Spinosad which is made up of bacteria harmful to flea beetles is another product you can choose to spray on your kale as well.While contact will kill the flea beetles, ingesting it is much more effective, so make sure you’re giving it a few days before you start looking for any changes.Here are some great ways you can prevent flea beetles from attacking your kale in the first place.And of course, once again using crops like mustard and radishes are another great way to divert the pests away from your kale.You’ll be able to tell harlequin bugs from other insects due to their shield shaped bodies which are either black and red or yellow.If you only notice a few harlequin bugs on your kale, then once again, the easiest thing you can do is remove them from the leaves by hand or spray them off.This way you’re going to make it much harder for them to survive the winter, and you’ll likely massively reduce the population in your garden.And if you notice them in your garden, then you may want to double check your kale, as they may have been infested with imported cabbageworms.Baccilus Thuringiensis Kurstaki is the standard insecticide to use, and in most cases, you can still eat your kale the day after spraying it.And lastly, another great choice is using parasitic wasps which will eat the cabbageworms on your kale as well as laying eggs inside of them.If you’re kale is suffering from leaf spot you’ll notice black holes beginning to cover it.The best ways to treat leaf spot are removing the infected leaves as well as using baking soda and spraying them with neem oil.However, it’s important to note, once leaf spot sets in, it can take over kale and there’s not much that can be done to prevent it.The most effective way to treat black rot is to prune your kale, removing any leaves that have been infected.With each new leaf you cut, however, make sure that you’re thoroughly disinfecting your tools, otherwise, you risk infecting other plants.This way you’re going to help improve air circulation which will reduce the spread of black rot to other leaves.The first thing you can do to prevent black rot in your kale is buy disease free seeds.When you grow kale hydroponically the chances of disease and pests is going to be much less likely as you control all the conditions! .

Cabbage Worms: How to Identify and Get Rid of Cabbageworms

Unlike cabbageworms, cabbage loopers raise and lower their bodies as they move because they have no middle legs.Cabbage white butterflies might seem like a pretty addition to the garden, but they are probably laying eggs on the undersides of leaves.Imported cabbageworms feed on the flesh of foliage and often hide on the undersides of leaves. .

How to Identify & Manage Kale Pests

If you have holes in your kale leaves, but don’t spy any insect pests during the day, check the plants at night.Slugs and snails much prefer damp weather and darkness, so you’re most likely to find them feeding on plants during the nighttime or on rainy days.Collect the sheltering slugs you find beneath the boards and dispose of them in a jar of soapy water.These green caterpillars have a faint, creamy yellow stripe running down their side and can grow up to an inch long.Handpicking is a great way to manage cabbageworm caterpillars, but because these kale pests can be difficult to spot, it isn’t always an easy task.Protect plants with a layer of floating row cover (which will also help control imported cabbageworm caterpillars) or deer netting.These kale pests feed by sucking out plant juices, leaving discoloration and splotches behind.To control harlequin bugs in your kale patch, handpick the insects when you find them, but don’t squish them (unless you want to be exposed to a really bad odor). .


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