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Old April 12, 2018   #1
agee12
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Default Cabbage / Grey Aphids on Broccoli

I was doing cut and come again on my kale and mustard greens and noticed that some of the leaves on my broccoli plants were curled. I examined the leaves and quite a few leaves had these gray clusters that I thought were eggs. Every leaf that had the cluster I crushed between my fingers and all but a few leaves I cut off the plant.

I did a search on the internet and determined that they were not eggs but aphids, specifically cabbage aphids or grey aphids. (picture)

My biggest concern is my broccoli heads which are just now forming, I don't want those [expletives deleted] infesting my broccoli heads!

My next step is to douse the leaves and the part where the heads are forming with a mint tea and dish soap combo, I'm going to do this tomorrow evening.

Has anyone else had this pest and if so how did you deal with them?
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Old April 12, 2018   #2
MissS
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I always use soap as my first method of attack. If I can't keep up with that I will add soap and some diatomaceous earth to a sprayer and spray the plants down.
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Old April 18, 2018   #3
GoDawgs
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Aphids tend to start showing up when the temps and humidity are right but I can't offhand recall what that is exactly. But they started showing up on my overwintered collards and kale when we had that warm spell in the second half of February.

I got rid of mine with insecticidal soap after cutting and tossing away all the large infested leaves, being careful to spray the underside of each remaining leaf. That kept them clean until the colder weather set back in. I've been watching the spring planted kale and collards closely and so far no aphids.

One trick I use on aphids and any just-hatched stink bugs, etc is to wrap a strip of duct tape around my hand (stick side out!) and press it on the little buggers to remove them. But it doesn't work well on squash bug egg masses as the glue used is too tough to defeat via duct tape!

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Old April 18, 2018   #4
brownrexx
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Aphids can also be washed off with a spray from a hose. They are too weak to hold on or crawl back up onto the plant. I had some aphids on a couple of my tomato plants for the first time last year and I got rid of them by hosing them off a few times and using some insecticidal soap.

You will have to wash them off a couple of times because the stream of water only removes the adults and more eggs will hatch over the next week or so. You will need to wash off those adults too.
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Old April 19, 2018   #5
habitat_gardener
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I didn't have a winter garden this year, but in past years, I noticed that all the aphids were gone a couple days after I spotted the first lady beetle. The ladybeetle larvae are the voracious eaters, however.

I also learned that if I wanted to eat broccoli in early spring, I had to use row cover to minimize the aphid populations.

On kale, usually the aphids congregated on 1 or 2 plants, not every one, so I used those as sacrificial plants to cultivate "food" for garden predators. I wanted the lady beetles to stay all season, and I wanted to lure them in with a good food supply. I also realized I liked the flatter kales better than the curly kales, because there were fewer places for aphids to hide and it was easier to wash the leaves!

Sometimes the aphids have already been parasitized by beneficial wasps (the really tiny ones). With a magnifying glass, the parasitized "aphid mummies" look like ballooned aphids, with a hole in one end if the wasp has already hatched and eaten its way out. Those aphids stay!
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Old April 20, 2018   #6
GoDawgs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habitat_gardener View Post
I also realized I liked the flatter kales better than the curly kales, because there were fewer places for aphids to hide and it was easier to wash the leaves!
That's exactly why I haven't grown frilly kale in a long time. It's a pain in the butt to find aphids.
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Old April 20, 2018   #7
kath
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoDawgs View Post
That's exactly why I haven't grown frilly kale in a long time. It's a pain in the butt to find aphids.
Me, three! I'm trailing several varieties that have smoother leaves this because of the aphid horrors experienced last year.
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Old April 20, 2018   #8
agee12
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Yeah I am aware of the blast of water solution but as simple as that sounds it is not easy getting all parts of the plants. As I mentioned above my main concern is that I don't want the aphids getting on the broccoli heads, so I've been blasting the broccoli heads with water. I still blast the plant with water but know that there will be missed spots. I inspect the plants and look for the telltale sign of curled up leaves and then crush that part of the plant.

I have not seen lady bugs but I have seen some small waspy looking things, so maybe they've been helping me out.

Good idea about changing up the type of kale.

I am also hoping that I can get my timing right so that I can get a late fall / early winter crop of broccoli and Brussels Sprouts. The broccoli and Brussels Sprouts I am growing now are basically over-wintered plants.
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Old April 21, 2018   #9
GoDawgs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agee12 View Post
Good idea about changing up the type of kale.
I've been trying Premier along with my usual Dwarf Siberian and I'm thinking I like Premier even better. Very productive, nice smooth leaves and nowhere for aphids to hide. Maybe I'll keep Dwarf Siberian for the fall/winter crop and use the Premier for spring planting like I've done this year.
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Old April 21, 2018   #10
kath
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoDawgs View Post
I've been trying Premier along with my usual Dwarf Siberian and I'm thinking I like Premier even better. Very productive, nice smooth leaves and nowhere for aphids to hide. Maybe I'll keep Dwarf Siberian for the fall/winter crop and use the Premier for spring planting like I've done this year.
Glad to hear that Premier is a winner for you because I'm trying it for the first time this year along with Lacinato and Rainbow Lacinato (which were the easiest to clean off the aphids in last year's trial), Dazzling Blue, and Tronchuda, which some call kale and others call cabbage. Hoping for a smooth-leaved winner! The aphids here kept going right up through frost.
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Old April 22, 2018   #11
GoDawgs
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Here's a pic of one of the four Premier kale plants in the garden. I cut a bunch off them about a week ago and they're growing right back. They almost look like collards!


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Old April 22, 2018   #12
PhilaGardener
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Those plants look great!

My problems the last few years have been more white fly on the Brassicas, but I know what you mean!
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Old April 22, 2018   #13
kath
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoDawgs View Post
Here's a pic of one of the four Premier kale plants in the garden. I cut a bunch off them about a week ago and they're growing right back. They almost look like collards!
Very pretty leaves!
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