Insect Damage on Kale?

Asked May 20, 2013, 3:18 PM EDT

Kale plants have been under netting. These holes and a "slime trail" appeared on a few leaves. Is this from an insect that managed to get inside? Could it be from my compost? I have trouble getting my compost to heat up - it's always cold. I try to keep a carbon/nitrogen balance. The only ingredient I am low on is manure. Is it the manure that causes the heat?
I do not use any chemicals. If I have to do that, is Neem Oil the best for organic gardening?

Baltimore County Maryland

2 Responses

The holes in your kale leaves are not related to your compost. Your mention of slime makes snails and slugs come to mind. They are nocturnal and hide during the day. See our publication on slugs,
Manure is not the main ingredient to heat up a compost pile. There needs to be a balance of brown and green materials, volume, moisture, and air (turning) to produce heat. Please see page 2-3 of the following publication,
Neem oil is one of many organic insecticides used by organic gardeners. There are many others like insecticidal soap, horticulture oil, spinosad and others.

Thanks a lot. That was very helpful.