Pests Affecting Green Vegetables
Troubles in the kitchen garden can be disastrous as they disfigure plants and effectively reduce their cropping qualities.
Brassicas — including cabbages, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower — and other green vegetables, such as beans, peas, celery and lettuces, produce their harvestable yield above ground and this can be damaged directly by leaf and stem pests and diseases, or indirectly by those which attack the root system.
The following explains how to recognize the common pests and diseases of green vegetables and how to deal with them. Though the list may appear daunting, many of these troubles can be avoided if the soil is fed and limed well so that the plants grow vigorously. It is also a good idea to dress seed drills with calomel dust or to dip the roots of young plants in a fungicide solution as a precaution against soil-dwelling pests and diseases. Thin seedlings before they become crowded to let air and light circulate freely.
General garden hygiene is particularly important when growing vegetables — rubbish and dead growth can harbour many pests and diseases. Always gather up fallen leaves and other debris and put them on the compost heap. If dead plant matter is known to contain pests or diseases, burn it rather than using it for compost.
When using chemical pesticides and fungicides follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully regarding the safety interval between spraying and harvesting —many chemicals take several days or even weeks before they disperse or become harmless to consume. Never spray vegetables which are ready for harvesting, and avoid letting spray drift pollute them when treating nearby crops.
If a particular chemical proves ineffective, try another one – the pests in one area may develop resistance to a particular substance used over a long period. Do not spray crops indiscriminately since you may destroy creatures which are beneficial — harmless insects such as ladybirds which prey on other pests, for instance. Avoid spraying crops which are in flower and alive with pollinating bees and other insects. If possible, spray on dull, still days.