April 7, 2010

Gardening Tip #6: Get rid of Aphids + Slugs naturally

And now - the Garden Mystery Guest!
They are green, squishy, and are sort of cute.  Kind of like Shrek.  Unfortunately they are infinitely smaller and eat your plants.

They love sucking the energy directly from the fresh growth stem and buds of your favorite flowers.
First, the most natural way to kill aphids is to buy a bag of ladybugs from your garden store.  I had so many plants infested with aphids that I chose to skip buying mass colonies of the cute beetles.
I did a good deal of research and, after hands-on practice, here's the best way I found to rid your garden of them:

1.  Aphids reproduce rapidly.  One aphid can create 80.  Kill aphids with tiger-like intensity.
2.  Squish them with your fingers on the plant.  Yuck.  Gently squeeze your thumb and forefinger around the plant stem and the bud.  Each aphid does produce a satisfying pop feeling. 
3.  Knock as many off the plant as possible.  They rarely are capable of returning to the plant.  I flick the stems hard, and the sudden jolt sends them flying.  Please do be careful to not break the foliage!

4.  The death sentence:  One standard size squirt bottle.  2 teaspoons of  dish soap.
Squirt this mixture on power stream anywhere you see the aphids.  Be sure to check the undersides of leaves and the backsides of stems.  The soap causes the aphids to dry and die and turn black.  Disgusting, but completely effective.  After two days, repeat steps 1-4 for the remaining buggers.

My lupen flowers were trashed with aphids this year.  This photograph shows two days after spraying the plant with soap.  The lupen stem went from having about 200 aphids to only about 10.  The aphids can be seen in the direct center of the photograph.  I didn't squish the bugs like I should have before spraying with the soap mixture, which is why these big mommas were strong enough to stick around.  The few black bugs that you see are dried up and dead.  :)


Cory's Slug Bait.  Probably not a natural option.  But quick, cheap, and amazingly effective at protecting your strawberries, tomatoes, and many other plants.  Pull the website open - I use the yellow box front and center.  Deadline is awesome as well, but significantly more expensive.  If you have an outdoor pet, be certain Fido does not like eating the pellets before you sprinkle them around your plants.  I'm not at fault for Fido dying.  Nor any other pet or plant of yours :)

I hope you are enjoying the sunshine God has finally brought us!

feel free to comment with your gardening questions!
Green Thumb Archives

Gardening Tip #1:  Out with the Old
Gardening Tip #2:  Quality (Pruners Clippers)
Gardening Tip #3:  Unfortunately time to weed
Gardening Tip #4:  Hot pink rubber gloves
Gardening Tip #5:  The perfect flower bouquet
Gardening Tip #6:  Get rid of Aphids naturally

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