Aphids on Brussels Sprouts
Posted: Mar-30-2004 at 10:33am
OK....is all this what Im hearing true? I have heard gary and trav, (and also in Steve Solomons book) mentioning planting brussel sprouts in June, or "after the peas".
I have always planted my sprouts early in the spring and never had any problems....until last year, that is! I had what at first I thought was some kind of funky mold on them, but after hosing it off several times, and getting a closer inspection, one crawled across my hand! Akkkkk! They were a silvery-ish color and talk about hungry! Totally devastated my sprouts....all of them! Were these the aphids I read about??..or something else?
I still am anxious to plant my sprouts, as I have 9 4" plants in the greenhouse that are ready & rarin' to go, but I dont want to lose them...again!
Must I wait....or is there a way to grow them now and deal with the aphids on another level? And also, Im assuming that cabbage is in the same family.....do I need to wait on those too???
Ive never winter gardened before, with the exception of digging up a few holdover carrots and onions when needed, so if I wait to plant these, can you suggest a replacement crop to go in that spot that will be done in time to put the sprouts in thier place?
Posted: Mar-30-2004 at 12:21pm
You don't say what variety but the English always start theirs in March/April, "under glass" using their term. I have found that my longer season varieties do not start to 'button up' until the fall solstice anyway.
Yes, you have to worry about aphids here in late summer. But first let's talk about timing. With the right varieties (mostly deveoped for N. Europe), sprouts occupy a lovely Nov/Feb+ harvest window. I prefer waiting until after frost before any harvest. In fact, I save up harvest until Thanksgiving because my family needs 3-4 lbs to 7-8 adults.
Sprouts harvested earlier will be better than the CA store bought ones but do not compare to our 'frost blessed' harvest and why not save them while you still have beans, corn, tomatoes, et al. Many on the varieties in the midwest catalogs are breed for shorter days to harvest to get a crop before the deep freeze climates kill them. Types like Long Island have a short 90 day window and talk about "semi-dwarf", etc. Diablo is listed by Territorial as 160 days.
My experience with 8+ varieties over the last 3 years ranged from 4/23 to 7/2 sowing of the transplants indoors. The April sowing year I had to fight the aphids in Aug and early Sept but I had plants that were 3'+ tall and I could pick a lb. from 6 inches of stalk off only 3 plants. With the late Sept sprout forming, I do not have to worry about fighting aphids in the sprouts -- only on the newer leaves.
Last year's July sown plants were too small and I didn't get a usable harvest until late Dec. Very little aphids though.
Yes, other cole crops will also have aphid trouble but I have found that they really favor Kale and BS and seem to leave the others alone (given the choices I provide in my garden). I have found the best way to control the aphids is with a water spray from my pressure sprayer. This year I intend to use Pyrethrins in the water spray to do more to the fuzzys than just knock them on the ground.
I also hope to sow the plants in the first week of May so I don't have to buy for the holiday dinners from the Farmers' Market.
My varieties which I will keep using are Diablo, Bubbles, Vancouver, Trafalgar, Oliver, and Falstaff (a much better purple that Rubine). Rubine, Jade Cross, Prince Marvel and others above are not on my lists any more.
Posted: Mar-30-2004 at 7:39pm
The latest I've ever direct-sown them is the first few days in June. My preference now is early May - I don't want Gary's three-foot-tall plants because my plot is rather windy in winter. Remember that transplants need to start a few weeks earlier (well I guess that's not a problem for you this year!).
The varieties that are available keep changing. I actually liked Prince Marvel a lot, but it doesn't seem to be available anymore. My absolute fave for winter was Lunet, which also seems to be gone. I don't grow the really late sprouts simply because the mid-season ones (Bubbles, Lunet, etc.) produce through the whole winter for me.
The main problem I see in starting these (as well as cabbage) so early is they very well might bolt if we get a cold spring. I start overwintered cabbage in May.
I just crush the aphids with my fingers.
Posted: Mar-30-2004 at 8:31pm
Be careful growsherown, Trav will have you picking up slugs with your fingers if you don't watch out. (Still can't believe I pick slugs up with my bare hands.)
Posted: Mar-31-2004 at 7:52am
I cant seem to remember the variety of sprouts I have off the top of my head, and if my lawn wasnt frozen this morning, I'd walk out to the greenhouse and see...will post it later for your info.
I think y'all have me talked into waiting a bit to plant them in...( a small bit, but a bit, none the less.lol) I dont want to feed the aphids again this year w/ my beautiful sprouts!
I guess Im just getting a bit antsy, as my sugar snaps poked thier heads out...FINALLY....and Im sure the neighbors got an eye-full of me doing my gardening happy dance to greet them! LOL!
But just in case I get ahead of myself again and do get the lil' critters......what is this stuff...how do I use it and where can I get it?
One last question....have I pestered you enough on this topic?????
Posted: Mar-31-2004 at 1:07pm
Pyrethrins is an organic pesticide that is derived from Chrysanthemums. It kills bugs on contact which also means bees so you need to be careful on flowering plants. But that is no problems on BS or Kale leaves. It also is short lived as it breaks down in sunlight.
You'll find as THE ingredient in the store shelf tomato and vegetable spray bottles. My is an 8 oz. Safer bottle which I mix with water in my sprayer. Just like I do with BT to control the cabbage worm on all the Kale crops.
I still have some old cedar bean poles of my mother's which are not tall enough anymore for a bean typee. I poke them behind the transplant and use 2-3 plastic ties to support the plants as they grow. I also hill soil around the roots of the transplant a few times during the summer. By the time fall weather comes, the plants and stakes are firmly set and they don't lodge on me.
With his silty soil, as I recall, Trav should get success by doing the same using some of those "too short" pieces of plastic pipe that he and I have left around from past Cloche uses.
Posted: Mar-31-2004 at 3:19pm
Personally I would use insecticidal soap before pyrethrum. Ok I have to admit I never used the latter. But doesn't pyrethrum target every six or eight legged creature? This says to me that using it would set up an imbalance causing more problems because it also kills the good guys.
I would first do the blast them off with water, as they can't find their way back and then the soap either will work.
Posted: Mar-31-2004 at 6:11pm
My experience is that it kills any insect that it contacts. Before I started hitting cabbage moths out of the air with a tennis racket, I used to chase them with a spray bottle (at my age now, I need a bigger artillery spread).
I have never seen any lady bugs on top of cole family aphids, nor do the plants have any bees until the following spring. After my April transplant sowing tow years ago, I found that even a high pressure spray to the ground was not enough to get rid of them.
Posted: Apr-01-2004 at 6:46am
I experienced that myself last year, gary. I sprayed them off with the hose nearly every day, and they kept coming back!
Im taking notes from you 2 tho, on the pyrethrum and the safer soap....
Posted: Apr-02-2004 at 8:55pm
No one FORCED you to pick them up, Debbie. I just made a suggestion...
Actually (for those who have no idea what we're talking about) I taught Deb how you can pick up the larger slugs by their sides - as long as you don't let them get their slimy foot on you your hands will stay mostly slime-free.
The little gray ones, though, seem to be slimy all over. Unfortunately those are the ones I usually end up flicking out of my broccoli in the fall.