Chickens are not the only ones who love kale. i believe this guy is a type of bollworm. Destructive little bugger. These are the same worms i found in my corn (corn earworms) and on my tomatoes (tomato fruit worms). i'm pretty sure i found one eating a potato too.
This snail was really pigging out. This leaf was almost skeletized (Is that really not a word?). i figured there was enough to share, and left him alone.
Aphids love kale as much as humans do! A mild soap spray should take care of a few aphids, but if the infestation is really bad you would probably be better off just pulling the plants. These guys were really bad on several of my plants, but hadn't spread to them all yet...so i ripped out the ones that were heavily infested. It makes a good treat for the chickens.
These cabbage worms can be hard to spot, because they blend in with the green of the leaves. It's those little poop drops that give them away. i typically pick these guys off by hand, and toss them in the chicken coop. This picture is a good reminder of why you should always wash your veggies well...even when it's organic.
i ended up pulling quite a bit of my kale due to the aphids and cabbage worms. When i tossed it down in the goat pens, the chickens and goats totally devoured it. i have another row of Lacinato kale coming up, and i think i'm going to plant another couple rows just for the chickens and goats. It tolerates pretty cold temperatures and will continue to grow for most of the winter. It makes a great supplement to my animals who don't get a lot of fresh green foods during the winter.
i'm still in the process of planting more fall vegetables, and cover crops. i'm looking into floating row covers to prevent some of these kale pests. Floating row covers are a lightweight, partially opaque fabric that prevents moths and other flying insects from accessing your veggies. It's thin enough that your plants can still breath and get enough sunlight to grow. i'm hoping to use it on my broccoli plants as well. No one likes to find little green worms in your broccoli!