Dealing with Pests – Cabbage Aphids (aka how I lost to cabbage aphids)

For each of the past three years I’ve planted Kale. It’s supposed to be super easy to grow, and it’s supposed to produce like crazy. Mine did… but I’m not growing Kale next year. Every bloody year I’ve become plagued by cabbage aphids, and I’ve failed repeatedly at fending them off, so this year I’m done with Kale (and cabbage, brussels sprouts and all manner of related greens).

I tried ladybugs. Released them in the garden in close proximity to these grey monstrosities, but they must find them as vile as I do because I have yet to see a ladybug feed on a cabbage aphid. Other aphids? Absolutely. The ladybugs gorged when my cape gooseberries were attacked… but not the grey ones.

I tried soapy water. It seemed to work at first, but the whole “make sure you get into all the crevices” thing meant it was doomed to failure. I’m mad lazy, and kale is nothing but crevices. Strike two.

I tried quick blasts of water. Guess what? They came back. Remember those crevices? We’ll in my experience you can’t get quick blasts of water into all the crevices without doing material damage to the plant. Maybe the water pressure was higher than it needed to be, I don’t know, but fool me once… Also, I’m gardening on a roof, so I don’t honor the whole ‘recommended spacing’ thing, which means a blast of water on plant A means a free trip to plant B. It may be that the mouth parts are ripped off etc, but I don’t like kale enough to risk it again this year.

You won this round cabbage aphids… and I’m not stepping in the ring again given how I value the reward at stake.