Reminder to stop and smell the…Broccoli?

Healthy broccoli at the 4 week mark

Organic gardening takes vigilance, and being aware is your best weapon when dealing with garden pests. I generally give each plant a look when I am watering.  If any have holes, yellow leaves, wilting, or bugs flying around them – inspect thoroughly.  And, make sure to look under the leaves. Recently, I noticed some holes in my broccoli leaves so this morning I decided it was time to investigate.  Like I said, I checked under the leaves, specifically the one with the most holes, and found a couple of garden pests. First little guy I found was the aphid. This known sap-sucker seems to always come around if your plant has been chewed on. Secondly, I came across a tiny cabbage looper. The cabbage looper is what made the holes in the broccoli leaves. Thirdly, I saw little white cabbage looper eggs.

Cabbage loopers and aphids that result

Cabbage loopers and aphids that result

To treat this pest problem organically, the first thing I always do is inspect all surrounding plants in the same bed. When inspecting, if I come across any cabbage loopers, cabbage looper eggs, or aphids I gently rub and squish them. It’s as simple as that. If you have a watchful eye and catch pest problems early they usually aren’t that bad. If you notice damage and procrastinate a few days, you very well might have a lot more pests and problems to contend with.  If you’ve let the problem get out of control we recommend an organic remedy, and hopefully you can just spray the affected area. There are lots of organic pest sprays (vinegar, pepper, etc…) that you can use on your garden. Later today I’m going to plant some Calendula next to the broccoli. Its potent flowers seem to keep pests away and its leaves can be used to treat minor cuts. Companion planting is another organic way you can help you garden stay pest free.

Close up look at the cabbage looper eggs

Close up look at the cabbage looper eggs

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