Pest of the Month – Aphids

Aphids and ladybird

It can be hard to imagine the veg patch crawling with aphids at this time of year, as the veg beds are fairly empty and most of the veggies that are growing tend to be aphid-free. However, they can be a problem for gooseberries and currants at this time of year, so we thought we’d make them our pest of the month. Here are our top tips for dealing with aphids…

Aphids include greenfly, blackfly, whitefly etc and they can be a real pain in the veg patch. They’re not particularly fussy and will happily make themselves at home on many of your veg plants. The results? Yellowing leaves, distorted growth and a general stickiness as they secrete their honeydew. So, how do you avoid the problem without resorting to chemical pesticides?

  1. Plant lots of marigolds and tagetes in and around plants that suffer from aphids (tomatoes and broad beans etc) – this helps to attract ladybirds and lacewings which in turn eat the aphids and keep populations down for you.
  2. Place sticky, yellow things in amongst crops. A vaseline covered yellow bucket balancing upside down on a bamboo cane will work wonders…the aphids are attracted to it and will land on the bucket and get stuck there.
  3. Make a garlic spray – peel some garlic cloves, slice them and boil them in water for 10 mins. Let the water cool before removing the garlic pieces. Add a little organic soap to the garlic water and spray it on vulnerable plants.
  4. Plant aphid attracting flowers to lure the aphids away from your veg. Nasturtiums, hollyhocks and dahlias are all popular with aphids, and they look pretty too. When planting the flowers, it’s wise to do so a good few metres away.
  5. Give any aphid-ridden plants a good strong water spray with the garden hose to wash them off. Do this once or twice a day until the plant is aphid free.