Aphids
aphids
aphids
Aphids are attracted to members of the brassica family, which includes broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi. Spray them with a strong stream of water to blast them off of your plants, or attract aphid preadors like ladybugs and lacewings. For heavy aphid infestations, you may have to resort to a soap spay. You can soap sprays at your local nursery. These contain insecticidal sprays that will kill off the aphids.

Cabbageworm – These are often seen as pretty white butterflies floating around in the summertime, but the caterpillars can be menacing. They inflict extensive damage to plants in the brassica family. Cover plants with row cover to prevent females from laying eggs. If eggs have already exist and caterpillars are starting to emerge, handpick caterpillars off of affected plants.

Cutworms – Cutworms are caterpillars that chew through stems at the ground. They are particularly harmful to young seedlings. Be on the lookout for them when you are digging because they live in the soil. Protect your seedlings by making a physical barrier out of brown paper bags. This will be a little collar that you push about halfway into the ground.
damage from leaf miners
damage from leaf miners


Leaf Miners - Leaf miners are fly larvae that make their homes in between leaf surfaces. You will recognize the white or brown tunnels they make in your vegetables. They are mostly a cosmetic problem, but you should keep an eye out for them on plants grown for their edible leaves (chard, spinach, lettuce). Simply remove affected leaves, or place netting over plants to keep the flies away from laying eggs.

Mealybugs – Mealybugs are a common houseplant pest, and can infect indoor vegetables as well. They suck juices from the plant and yellow the leaves. Rinse plants with water to dislodge or hand squash these pests. Plants that are heavily infested should be removed from indoor growing spaces to prevent further infestations.

Root Maggots – Root maggots attack the roots of vegetables and can take large chunks out of radishes and carrots, making them unappetizing to students. They appear in the early part of season. To avoid them, cover freshly planted rows with row cover. This prevents female flies from laying their eggs in the soil – which then hatch in to the dreaded maggots. Beneficial nematodes can also be helpful.

Slugs and snails – If your plants have large chunks taken out of them and you
leopard slug
leopard slug
spot a silvery trail meandering across the ground, you’ve got some of these pesky critters. They are particularly dangerous for seedlings, and can wipe out a whole row of them in a single night. If you are having a big problem with them you may be better off planting transplants than trying to start from seed. You can hunt them down and remove them by looking in typical hiding spots. For Snails, this is any broad, flat-leafed plant like irises and leeks. Slugs like it a little moister, and can often be found underneath logs and pots. Slugs and snails are deterred by copper. Most garden stores sell copper tape that you can affix to the edges of your garden beds. Another common remedy (albeit less school-friendly) is to put out a small dish of stale beer. Slugs are attracted to the beer and will drown inside the dish. If you place it out on Friday and come back on Monday you find a dish full of slugs.

Tomato Hornworms – Tomato hornworms are bright green caterpillars that
tomato hornworm
tomato hornworm
eat the leaves, stems and fruits of members of the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplants). These are sometimes difficult to spot, but should be removed by hand.