About Me

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I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water and after twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live on a hill by a small lake and work at a public garden. These are stories about nature written from a women deeply influenced by place.

Friday, June 1, 2012

How to get rid of Aphids

A few aphids balanced by a few lady bugs (who love to eat aphids) is nothing to worry about. But if you get a aphid infestation, don't go out and spend a bunch of money on organic pesticides (and certainly not toxic pesticides). All you need are three household items...

Here is my easy, natural anti-aphid recipe:
Two cups of water
One cup of vegetable oil
Three or so Tablespoons of mild soap like Dr. Bronners soap or dish soap (I use seventh generation free and clear dish soap because it is better for the earth [while working amazingly on my dishes] but any dish soap will do)

Pour everything into an empty spray bottle, screw the lid on tight, and shake, shake, shake... Once the suds, oil, and water are mixed, spray the infected leaves. Aphids like to hang out on the underside of leaves so make sure you spray up from below. If you don't get every last aphid, your garden won't parish. The idea is to knock the aphid population back. This solution shouldn't kill larger insects, like your friendly ladybugs who are more resilient.
Let the solution sit on the plants for a while. A few hours will do. However, (and this is very important) many plants can not handle direct sunlight while wet, especially wet with oil! The oil and water on their leaves will magnify the sun's light and the leaves will get burnt! Tomato plants are especially sensitive to this. So make sure do this at dusk or once your plants are shadowed. Afterwards, rinse the plants off thoroughly before the sun hits them. Spray the leaves with a hose to knock off as much of the soap, oil, and aphids as possible.
Good luck and happy gardening!

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