04-27-2012 04:20 PM
Hi everyone -- I'm new to this community and desperately seeking help to get rid of pests on my kale. I've been successfully growing beautiful kale for this past year but have yet to eat any! Why? I've had to cut the kale back 3x's already because as soon as it's about 2 ft high (and still growing), my kale becomes infested with tiny little softbody insects that are varying shades of gray (mostly light gray). There are thousands of them and they pack like clusters all over the stems and inside/under/over the leaves. I'd already tried an organic insect spray for vegetables with zero success -- no reduction on infestation whatsoever. I'm big on using organic methods but this brand (Organocide) has not worked on this problem, although I've had success with other problems when I used Organocide so I don't want to say it doesn't work at all -- just not on this kale problem.
I've recently tried using a solution of water & dishwashing soap to spray them since I've read online this often helps get rid of softbody insects. I've only done this 2x's now, once per week. It's helped a little but the infestation comes back. I have not sprayed more often or mixed a stronger soap solution yet, since I don't want to kill the kale. If you have had any successful real experience getting rid of these tiny gray insect infestations on kale or similar veggies -- PLEASE HELP!!! Thank you so much in advance.
04-27-2012 07:58 PM - edited 04-27-2012 08:13 PM
This is Ricks Picks. Thank you for your question. Sounds like you have been working hard trying to get your kale to grow and not have those nasty insects. From your description, they sound like a form of aphid, which could also come from soil that has not been completely composted, just a thought. Have you been growing your kale in the same spot??? Moving the location may help since insects tend to breed in favorable conditions.
If you would like to stay organic, you might try adding some cooking oil to your dish soap spray combo. The soap helps to explode the cells of the insect and the cooking oil smothers the insect. The Home Depot carries other organic insecticides such as:
When you are using organic sprays, it is necessary to repeat the spray as often as necessary. Sometimes there is no real victory when using an organic pesticide only a draw. Another alternative is to use Lady Bugs as often as they are available. Lady Bugs love aphids and other soft bodied insects! (Ladies in Red)
There are some other very safe alternatives to organic pesticides, although they are not organinc, they are effective. Those would be:
Organic gardening is a challenge at times as you have found out. Rotating the location of your crop my help as well as treating all the plants that surround your garden. There is no magic wand fix for insects that invade our plants unfortunately and I understand the popularity of organic gardening, but remember that it is a give and take situation when using only organics. Here is a web site at UC Davis that might be of help:
I hope some of my suggestins will prove successful for you. Let me know what works in your siuation.
This has been another of,
I’m a Home Depot Store Associate, trained and authorized to help people on the Internet.
05-11-2012 01:49 PM
To control aphids I spray the plant off with a strong blast of the hose to knock as many off as possible. I follow this up with insecticidal soap - make sure you get under the leaves where many congregate. As long as temperatures are under 80 F you can use an oil spray instead of or in addition to the soap spray. Aphid reproduce rapidly so missing just a few insects or their eggs can mean a continued problem if you don't notice them at first. Check your kale frequently and if you see any more aphids spray with one or both of these again.