Every year right around this time, when the garden is in the beginning stages, my annual arch nemesis comes out:
These little bugs love to lay their tiny black eggs all over your sweet plants, curling the leaves and then hatch and eat the plants, so you can’t. It’s pretty annoying, and this year they have decided to lay their eggs on my brand new fruit trees, especially my pear.
There are a few things you can do to help control these buggers, but most of the time it involves chemicals. I grow my food not only to save money, but because frankly I specifically don’t want synthetic chemically treated plants and thus food.
So there was the dilemma: how to take care of these terrors without caving, and without paying with my firstborn for organic chemicals (and let me tell you, Aphids are not going to wait the shipping time it takes for them to get to you). Thankfully, after much research I found a recipe that seems to be popular across the board. I’ve read about it working on fruit trees as well as vegetables. Short of buying ladybugs or wasps to release into my yard (yes, there are indeed one alternative), I’ve decided to go the home brew route. I didn’t use exact measurements, I just used my spray bottle as a guide.
Aphid Control Home Brew: (approximate)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- a few small cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- a teaspoon of dish soap
- a teaspoon of vegetable oil
Mix the first three ingredients together with hot water and let steep for an hour or so. If you prefer, puree them all together first and then put in water to steep. Strain through cheesecloth or light dishcloth and put into a spray bottle with the dish soap and vegetable oil. About oil – know what it does to your skin on a sunny day? It will do the same to your plants, so be careful not to go overboard. Toasted plants might take care of aphids, but you certainly won’t get anything yummy to eat from them.
The other thing I threw into mine, which is also known to help with aphids, is some citrus. Do NOT add items with sugar, this is going to attract other unwanted pests (like ants) to your plants. I used straight lime juice and only a little bit, maybe a teaspoon or less.
Here’s a few other things you should do as well:
- Clean the leaves each morning to get off any eggs
- If your plant can tolerate it (i.e. not a new seedling) give the plants a good spray of water, and make sure to get underneath, this will knock the aphids off.
- After cleaning and spraying with regular water, spray your plants with the mix above. Note that you’ll probably have to re-apply it throughout the season, this isn’t a one shot deal.
That’s all for now, go to town with that spray bottle and get rid of those buggers! I am determined to not let them have my crop this year, if blight doesn’t get some of it first again – but that’s another post for another day.