Anyone grossed out by aphids?

angiemomma4March 25, 2012

Okay, so I've just pulled a bunch of broccoli that wasn't heading very well and basically just taking up space. Took the edible heads, threw the rest to the ducks and they made short work of that.

Now the part that bothers me. I should be above this. I should be grateful. I should be proud to have grown it and steaming it to go along with the fresh asparagus for dinner. But I can't do it. Having taken the broccoli inside, placing it on my white countertops I noticed not just several but what seemed to be a ba-jillion (yes, it's a word---don't mess with me now I really love broccoli) hidden aphids. They fell off those beautiful heads of broccoli and gathered to party on the slick white counters of my kitchen and they ruined it all for me.

I know I can wash them off. I know I can use vinegar in the water and it will kill all the remaining little buggers. I know aphids won't kill me--we could all use a little unexpected protein I'm sure. But I think I can't do it, man. I think this broccoli is duck food too.

I am very sad today.

Is there anything YOU won't bother to plant, cuz you just can't stand the imagination that goes along with it? I SO love broccoli, and was SUCH a good broccoli mom to these plants. WHERE oh WHERE did I go wrong? LOL

Overreactive in California,

Angie

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barnhardt9999(8a)

They have no taste. A little extra protein never hurt. I would reconsider gardening of you are going to give perfectly good broccoli to ducks.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 10:07PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Were you monitoring the plants and treating for aphids all along? If so what were you using to treat with that let such an infestation develop?

Dave

PS: I envy you have broccoli already, aphids and all.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 10:45PM
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angiemomma4

Well, I do eat the duck eggs, so I suppose I could, supposedly, eventually, give in with the aphids. I have been gardening for about 4 years now and I'm no expert by any means but I swear, the leaves didn't have the aphids, just seemed like they were on the heads themselves. They were pretty good at the camofluage thing I guess.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no sissy, honest. But last year, perhaps because of all the rain and cold, my broccoli didn't get that munched at all. This year not so much with the luck, ya know?

And Dave, thank you for joining me in my humour. Don't be jealous though...if you can get the timing right on it then you are better off than me. I didn't treat it with anything but I suppose had I noticed it earlier on I could have tried neem maybe?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 11:10PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Here's what you should do from now on...have a big bucket full of clean cold water (maybe some of that vinegar) all ready outside. You can do all of your preliminary rinsing and even trimming in the bucket and you won't even notice the aphids. Or mites.

You'll soon harden yourself to a few harmless critters in your food, especially if you can wash most of the off without them crawling all over the kitchen. I have faith in you!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 11:45PM
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raquibird

We Californians are by definition overreactive - it's what makes us adorable. For aphids: I blend up together tomato leaves and water, strain, and store it in a glass jar until you're ready to spray (I use an empty 7th Generation Cleaner plastic bottle) Aphids don't like tomato juice. And if you make a mistake and smell the mixture after it's been sitting for a while, you'll be happily surprised. No, that's a lie: it's possibly the most horrible thing you'll ever smell. But the aphids don't like it either. And to add to your delight, take a 30X magnifier and take a look at the little honeys while they're on the plant. I grow lots of broc for the family, but I can't stand the taste of it: that's what a saint I am.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 1:22AM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

And the answer is..... floating row covers. You know the stuff -- Reemay is one brand.

Next time, plant your broccoli and cover it immediately with the fabric.

My neighbor made some light frames of 1x2" wood, about 2ft wide x 6ft long x 30" tall. The first time, she covered all but the bottom with pink nylon netting (think tutu fabric). It kept out the cabbage moths so she didn't have those nasty maggot/wormy things, but she did get aphids.

The next year, she pulled off the pink netting and replaced it with floating row cover fabric, and stapled it all around the bottom. She marked the bed where the frame would go, then planted her young plants at a safe spacing, and immediately covered them with the frame, pushing some soil around the bottom to cover any gaps.

Her broccoli was beautiful! Picture perfect!

The next year, she made more frames, planted more broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. No bugs.

She said she will never grow them without her trusty covered frames EVER AGAIN. She said they lowered her frustration level.

Sue

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 2:44AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Aphids don't gross me out, since I wash my produce and get rid of them if they are there. But they do annoy me from time to time. The thing that will freak me out occassionally in my garden is finding a black widow. Especially a large, shiny, sinister-looking gravid female. Nasty! I embrace pretty much all of spider-kind, even the really large running ones that can startle, but not BWs.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 10:34AM
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Maggie M.(z7 Sunset7 CA Sierra Foothills)

Well, I'm with you Angiemomma - aphids gross me out and I just can't do it as far as eat, swallow and not gag on something like your broccoli. I gave both broccoli and brussel sprouts (gorgeous produce adn brussel sprouts are such a cool looking plant to grow) to a good friend who could handle "a few bugs" when I did grow them and they got aphids I couldn't be certain were washed entirely out even armed with tweezers and time (they also show up in brussel sprouts at the store - little grey specks at the base of the leaves once you develop an eye for them - you see them). I simply don't grow either anymore - I have so many things I like to grow for veggies that it's easy to drop a plant and still find I don't have room for everything I'd grow and truly enjoy. The chards or kale leaves can always be cleanly washed (no little bugs stuck in florets), eggplants and peppers are always bug free for me, tomatoes - easy enough to spot the big ol worms, squashes, pumpkins, herbs. I do employ the soap sprays for aphids, but as we Californians live on one big ant colony - the ants always find a way to bring them back and the poisons required to stop that little cycle would turn me off home gardening. If you push yourself, you might find you simply cannot eat broccoli grwon anywhere with or without a bug attached. Careful with the row covers - if a bug does get in, they multiply like crazy (folks with greenhouses have this problem). The extra warmth and humidity make them so happy. If you go that way - you might want to use a non-toxic soap spray before you tack the cover down.

Here is a link that might be useful: my blog

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 11:30AM
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angiemomma4

Thanks to all. I hate to seem like I am ungrateful but maybe they just started out early this year because the weather has been unusually warm. I so want to keep broccoli on my list of things to grow and I do have some reemay---just need to do some more research on how to actually EMPLOY the use of the stuff.
Those big fat grey aphids on steroids just lolling around my white tile counters were more than I could deal with at the end of that particular day. More to come, I'm sure!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 12:57PM
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angiemomma4

Oh and Sunnibel, black widows love to hang around in my garage and on the edges of our above ground pool. Bwah ha ha ha . Hate 'em. Hate 'em Hate 'm. Most insects are on my 'whatever, just get out of my way and don't bother me and I won't bother you' list, especially spiders 'cause they are so cool but not BW. I've been bitten and we have an understanding. Don't show up and I won't smush you like the treacherous little bugger you are.
Angie

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 1:05PM
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carolynp(z7)

I feel the same way about slugs. Blech.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 1:34PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

My list of gross outs is growing. Squash bugs, hate em, hate em, and that green ooze they have when you do squash them, yuck.

I used to ignore grubs and caterpillars. Now, I have to kill the ones that I find in the soil. Rather disgusting but grafting when I stick my garden knife into them.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 1:55PM
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angiemomma4

Ewwwwww squash bugs! Okay you got me there. If ever a creature was made with maximum gross out potential for the human eye it has to be squash bugs. Don't those suckers just look like they have way more than their quota of legs sometimes? The whole hanging out in gangs thing makes them handy for the purposes of squishing but darned if I ever show up with my gloves on when I come across a whole squash bug convention. Do I do it bare handed? Do I leave and risk losing them all in order to find my gloves? Do I dare let them be and hope they won't multiply by the thousands within the next 24 hours?

I am not a sissy.

Am not.

Nuh uh...

Angie

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 6:40PM
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Mindyw3(5)

I put everything i harvest straight into a bowl of water and vinegar. Even strawberries which unfortunately soak it up and lose some flavor. I also wash every leaf of lettuce individually. Yep. Even baby mixes. And uep it takes forever. But i see all the tiny bugs that fly out when i water and all the dirt and crud that gets inbetween leaves. I wouldnt eat them either. But thats just me.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 7:22PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

Well, DH's method is to cup them into his hands, throw the squash bugs down to the ground and stomp on them.

Honestly though, the others that gross me out are centipedes and skinks. If I pull a plant from the ground or dig in and one of those creepy centipedes pop up, I get the heebie jeebies. While I love how skinks take care of bugs, the way they move, shivers!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 10:16PM
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