Grow Your Own Food

Published on June 11th, 2011 | by Becky Striepe


Help! What’s Eating my Broccoli?

broccoli plant

If you’ve been following the Grow Your Own Food Challenge, you’re probably familiar with this Chinese broccoli situation in my front porch garden. Basically, I’ve been beheading the broccoli to harvest it and the head has been growing back like clockwork. Yay!

Recently, though, I noticed some holes in the leaves, and last week the whole top of the stems were covered in what look like little sesame seeds, and I’m looking at you, gardening pros, for your thoughts. Are these aphids? Does anyone know what’s happening here?

broccoli problem

If it is aphids I’ve read that spraying them with plain old water to get them off might do the trick. I’ve also heard that spraying your plants with diluted soapy water can help deter pests like aphids. Have any of you guys tried either of these methods or something else that works?

On a possibly unrelated note, there’s a weird thing happening on just one leaf of my broccoli plant:

broccoli leaf

Is that something to worry about?

Whatever is eating my broccoli needs to quit it, because I want to eat this broccoli! This is my first garden pest problem, so I’m sort of at a loss.

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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .

8 Responses to Help! What’s Eating my Broccoli?

  1. I had something similar happening to my Asian greens. I sprayed them once with an organic insecticide soap and it seemed to work.

  2. Monique says:

    Looks like aphids to me & soapy water has always worked for me. My husband prefers to use a seaweed emulsion, burns the bugs off and fertilizes at the same time.

  3. I would just make some soapy water and spray them down. Keep an eye on them and if you see anything on them loke grubs or bugs pick them and kill them!

  4. lisaloving says:

    I think you have two things going on: aphids on the top (when the sprout is that small you can literally just wipe them off with your fingers and you are fine. If you want, and you have kids, you can go buy a bag of ladybugs at your local garden store. Buying a bag of ladybugs is fun and you get extra credit of you have an EXCUSE to buy them–they love aphids). But the holes on the bottom leaves are from little slugs. Go out at night and take a look, pull them off with your fingers and toss them in the driveway. Really all-in-all no need to buy anything but you could, just for fun

  5. Kat says:

    Your “sesame seeds” are definitely aphids, easy enough to take care of, you just need to stay on it because they will pop up again in a heartbeat. Dish soap and water, or insecticidal soap is pretty effective. I usually mush them with my fingers first then spray every other day for about 2 weeks to make sure that I get any newly hatched ones. What you’re seeing now are adults, but they have eggs laid somewhere! Spray with soap until leaves are dripping, leave on for 10-15 minutes then rinse with water.
    Your other problem looks like leaf miner, which is hard to eradicate if it gets bad, which is rare. The plant can usually cope ok. Just to be sure remove the leaf, smush it and compost.

  6. Thank you all so much for the helpful comments! I’ll pull off that icky leaf and make a soap solution to spray on my broccoli right away!

  7. Damned aphids wiped out my kale again. When using store bought sprays be careful as the term “organic” might not mean “organic” the way that we are thinking of it.

    We associate the word organic with good, but for somethings organic is bad. I can’t think of an exact example right now, so I might be causing confusion…sorry. It gets tricky. Some water and Dr. Bronners should def help out.

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