Friday, April 5, 2013

Veggie Disappointments

No more winter vegetables!  I went out of town for a few days and all my broccoli was flowering when I returned.  The lettuce has begun to seed.  And what about those beautiful Brussels sprouts?  After patiently growing Brussels sprouts in my garden, I was so looking forward to preparing and eating them.  But, instead, I was shocked and horrified by what I saw:


Mealy cabbage aphids!

Yucky, yucky cabbage aphids on my Brussels sprouts!

"Dirt" on the leaves is the first sign

These yucky aphids love plants in the cabbage family, and boy, did they ever love my Brussels sprouts!

These are not regular run-of-the-mill aphids.  These aphids look larger to me (may be my imagination), and they have a waxy coating that makes they look a bit gray.  They can also transmit viruses to other plants.


How to get rid of these aphids?  The best form of aphid control is ladybugs.  I had a bumper crop of ladybugs in my garden earlier in the year, so I was surprised to see these little buggers on my sweet Brussels sprouts.  However, the temperatures had plummeted below freezing a couple of nights before I found the cabbage aphids, so perhaps the temperatures affected the ladybugs.

Mealy cabbage aphids!

I have read that you can spray these with water from a high pressure hose to wash them off, but I couldn't get the vision of flying aphids out of my head.  Plus, they weren't just on the leaves - they were on the sprouts, too, perhaps even burrowing in the folds of the sprouts (at least, that's what I was imagining), and I didn't want to eat any of them!  Yuck!  I would rather do without Brussels sprouts than eat one of these ugly buglies!  So, that's what I did.  Without.  I disposed of all of my Brussels sprouts plants.

:(

So, desperate to have some sort of harvest, I began to look at the asparagus.  Ah, sweet asparagus!

Purple asparagus

Alas, that was not to be, either.

When can you harvest asparagus?  According to my planting directions, no harvest the first year.  Harvest of three or four stalks the second year, and then regular harvesting the third year.  This is my second year, so I could harvest a few stalks from each crown (I have three planted).  Growing asparagus has been easy, so far, and I was looking forward to bragging about roasting them.  My favorite recipe to cook asparagus is just to broil them for a few minutes with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Yum.

But, remember the freezing nights I wrote about?  Well, the tops of the asparagus were killed in the freeze.  Bummer.  I decided the best thing to do is to wait for more asparagus to emerge and then harvest the few stalks I am allowed this year.

So, no harvest this month!  Very disappointing.  No harvest from my broccoli.  No harvest from my lettuce.  No harvest from my Brussels sprouts.  And no harvest from my asparagus.

Zero.

Nada.

Nothing.

Zip.

What a blow to my ego!  ;)

Even though I had no harvest this month, I joining The Gardening Blog for Garden Bloggers Harvest Day.  I hope you had a better harvest for March!

50 comments:

  1. Ah man! That is a bummer! Well you get an a in my book! This weather has been nuts! So sorry to hear it disriptted your crops....and I wouldn't want to eat on of those little bugger either! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Thanks for the A, but I don't think I deserve it! A better vegetable gardener would probably have noticed those little buggers before they got out of hand. Or, maybe not! We actually purchased some kale the other day, and when we started to eat it (before, thank goodness), realized it had those same aphids all over it! Yes, it was organic! ;)

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  2. Ah the joys of gardening ! Good job the shops sell them ! I am a bit of a wuss about winter veg gardening, for some reason, even though I am out in all weathers (and sometimes in the dark ! ) I only do summer veg,. Maybe it is for the best ...

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    1. Yes, thank goodness for grocery stores! I would not do well if I had to be self sufficient!

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  3. Rats! B.S. and aphids-spray of the hose works if you get them all out before the heads form. A couple drops of dish detergent in a cup of water mixed and spayed on the little buggers also gets rid of them. But why deny yourself the extra protein? (eeew!)

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    1. Yes, I could have done a lot of different things, but they were just grossing me out. I didn't want to eat it, even if I had sprayed every one of them off. I would have been too afraid there would have been one left!

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  4. Aaaaaaaargh! Poor you. The brassica family has proved so demanding that I have pretty much given up on the lot of them. If the aphids don't get them, the pigeons will. Of course, I say that and then I find myself strangely drawn to one of them. Somehow, despite the disappointments, optimism wins through. This year, despite knowing before I start that I will fail, I will be optimistically growing Romanesco. As for the asparagus, enjoy those spears and whatever you do, don't breathe a word that you are harvesting them. Some things are better not shared ;-)

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    1. I think you're right - the brassica family is tough! I had already given up on cabbages, swore this would be my last year for broccoli, and now I'm wondering if Brussels sprouts are worth growing. :( Good luck with your romanesco. They are so intriguing!

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  5. Hopefully April will be better and you'll have good harvest from then onwards. Keep smiling :)

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    1. Yes, I'll keep my fingers crossed for the rest of the year!

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  6. Those aphids look awful! What a disappointment. I always plant veggies with such hope, and they seem to do well - until the bugs and diseases arrive. Or drought, or frost, or whatever. But nothing tastes better than home-grown veggies. It is worth the effort. Better luck with your next crop!

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    1. I do so enjoy fresh veggies, they are worth the occasional disappointment. And we get to try again every year! I'm just so glad I can run to the grocery store for backup!

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  7. I understand your disappointment. Sometimes I wonder why I try to grow vegetables at all - last year my broccoli didn't produce florets at all and this year it bolted before I could harvest anything. But hope springs eternal and the occasional success keeps me trying again and again. (My sugar snap peas are doing great!) I hope your warm weather crops fare better!

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    1. I have some peas that are flowering, but I don't give them much hope. Maybe I'll be wrong and actually get a harvest off of them! You never know about vegetable gardens!

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  8. The asparagus can be harvested the year after planting to stimulate more bud production on the crown and provide greater yields in future years, but ask your extension office because it likely varies in your locale. Aphids have to be dealt with for a few days straight. The blast of the hose works, but I add drops of vegetable oil and a few drops of dish soap to warm water and spray, but do it for a few consecutive days.

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    1. I thought about trying to salvage them, but in the end decided I wouldn't want any part of that on my dinner plate! Guess going to the grocery store has us spoiled!

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  9. Well, Holley if it makes you feel better I grew literally hundreds, and I mean hundreds of pumpkin vines last year, and not a single pumpkin did I get...I did EVEN see a female..I had dreams of actually seeing the pumpkin..but the pumpkin stork looked me over and decided not to lands...so at least you aren't alone.

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    1. I have heard pumpkins are hard to grow. I have never tried. If you grow them again this year, I hope you have better luck!

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  10. I have some extra lettuce I harvested. It is bitter as the temps are warming, but I heard that if you refrigerate it for 3 days it will loose the bitterness....we'll see about that. I'm not sure why you wouldn't want to try a few cooked aphids, extra protein right? Last year we got lots of little green caterpillars in our cauliflower. I thought I could just wash them off, but when they started emerging from every nook and cranny and climbing out of the sink the next day, I also gave up and just tossed them. Even if some tribes in Africa think them a delicacy, I couldn't get the idea out of my head, therefore now goodies. Just wait though, more is on the way!

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    1. That's exactly how I felt - even if I could get rid of the aphids with a spray, I couldn't get them out of my head! I don't do well with cauliflower, either. I guess I should be thankful I didn't grow any this year! Those worms sound really bad!

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  11. So sorry about the little critters on your veggies. Once at an upscale restaurant I pointed out to the server that there was a lady bug in my salad and he made some remark like "well at least you know it's fresh!" I was not amused...nothing against ladybugs, though. They are welcome in my garden. Not in my salad!

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    1. That does makes me wonder if they washed the salad at all! What a remark to make to a customer!

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  12. Well that's just sad. I have to admit once I see bugs all over something, it grosses me out and I sure don't want to eat it then.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  13. Curses! That is just very disappointing. I would urge you to persevere, but I am not much of a vegetable gardener. Maybe this is an opportunity to grow more flowers?

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    1. I'm trying to expand my horizons and grow vegetables, too. But they certainly are another animal! My roses don't give me this much trouble!

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  14. At least they left your roses unharmed.

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    1. Yes, I would have flipped out if I had seen these on my roses! Interestingly, now that it's warmed back up, I'm seeing ladybugs in the garden again! They sure missed a big meal! Or, maybe they don't like these kind of aphids - they don't look very appetizing!

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  15. simply beautifully captured shots...lovely!

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  16. I have not even gotten into the garden yet due to cold, rain and some snow...really disgusting as I need to be outside gardening....rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrRRRRRRR!!!!

    So sorry to hear about your harvest. I am supposed to get warmer, sunny weather Monday and I have the day off so I hope to plant my early spring veggies...

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    1. Oh, I hope you have a wonderful day out in the garden - and that the weather is perfect! Don't get sunburned! :)

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  17. How frustrating! I had a similar experience with my parsnips last year!

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    1. It's so depressing to find something that you have looked forward to eating being eaten by something else!

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  18. I hate when that happens. Isn't it amazing how much damage can be done when you turn your back for a day or so? But the shots of the aphids were great - very educational.

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    1. Yes, garden disappointments are usually educational. :( Unfortunately, I think the bugs are also getting smarter!

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  19. Agggghhhh, that is just too much disappointment for one day! Can't believe all that happened in just a few days. It's got to be the weird weather this year. We'll be lucky to get anything out of our crops this year.

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    1. The weather has been weird, and I do think it played a big part in the arrival of these nasty bugs. I planted my summer garden late, but it would not have made it if I had planted it earlier due to the late freezes. I hope the hot weather this summer doesn't annihilate it before I get harvests!

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  20. I often get those aphids on my cabbages. It's just what happens when you grow organically (I tell myself). They do seem to affect mostly the outer leaves, and the inner cabbage part is fine (although you may find the odd caterpillar or earwig! But don't worry - those are extra protein!) I don't grow brussels sprouts though so I can't vouch for those. You must be having some lovely spring weather for all your veges to go to seed. It never gets hot here quickly enough for my liking!

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    1. The weather here has actually been very nice. I guess the bugs thought so, too. I probably could have saved the sprouts if I had paid more attention to them, and caught it early. I often think vegetables will be o.k. if I leave them to grow for a few days without my oversight, but often I am wrong!

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  21. Oh no....those bugs are just hateful...poor veggies!! I hope you have better luck with your summer veggies! Hang in there!

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    1. I hope I have better luck this summer, too. Unfortunately, it usually gets so hot here, most vegetables either go dormant or just burn up.

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  22. Oh no!!! I have those nasties too! They take over in a matter of days - making it impossible to harvest anything. I have nearly given up on cabbage and broccolli - cauliflower I will not try again. So sad when this happens! I have tried soapy water and this is no real solution. I have been ill this past week so no harvests - but will do a small post!

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    1. I have given up on cabbage, perhaps broccoli, and now I'm not so sure about Brussels sprouts! I can't believe how they did take over in just a few days! Yuck!

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  23. I'm trying to "expand my horizons" too, Holley! Do you have ideas for warm season veggies? Don't give up -- you can do vegetables!

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    1. I have several things planted for summer - beans, peas, tomatoes, squash, etc. I wanted to do potatoes and carrots but didn't get my beds finished in time. Next year! :)

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  24. Poor sprouts, but I don't blame you for ditching them, once the thought of perhaps eating bugs with them appears, there is no getting rid of it. Or them. At least you know you will be getting asparagus in due course! I haven't been able to justify an asparagus bed yet, as I am the only one that likes it. And I don't like it, I love it. I will have to look in to growing it in containers...

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    1. If I absolutely loved something, I would grow it - whether the others wanted it or not! I hope you'll plant just a few in a small container. It would be a wonderful spring delicacy!

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