The purely observational, unscientific results of the aphid massacre are in!
I grew three different varieties of kale this year: black kale, Portuguese kale and Vates Kale. Each variety stood up to the aphids with varying degrees of success.
The overall winner and the kale variety most resistant to aphid damage was black kale.
The variety least resistant to aphid damage was Portuguese kale. (Although if I’d grown Red Russian kale, it would have come in a close second.)
Vates kale was an interesting case study. It too, was badly damaged by aphids but was the best at regenerating post-invasion.
The kale that was easiest to de-aphid? Portuguese, followed by Vates, with black kale taking last place.
Aphid-Be-Gone Scrubber from ACME
Finally, here are two Before and After snaps of the kale pots:
This last photo isn’t quite as grim as it looks, as the kale’s undergoing its final harvest.
Seems like a good time for a Learning Reflection:
-I’ll use floating row cover next year coupled with preventative weekly neem oil sprays. While floating row cover did not keep out the aphids, it absolutely did keep out the dreaded cabbage white butterflies, which decimated my upstairs neighbour’s kale.
-I’ll plant only ONE type of kale in each pot, as dissimilar growing habits can cause too much shading on some of the plants. (I think this is what happened to the Portuguese kale and may have contributed to its lack of resilience to the aphid invasion.)
-the autumn-planted kale did not do well. I think this is due to the transformation of the backyard patio to a part-shade garden at this time of year. Kale needs sun! Next autumn, I’ll go crazy with the lettuce mixes instead.
Moral of the story? Insects love to eat kale as much as we do!