image by Drawn by Terry Lee
When you grow your own vegetables, you benefit from their nutritional value, from the money you save at the grocery store, from learning about how nature works and from the satisfaction of living a "greener" lifestyle. But some veggies are delectable to insects as well, and aphids are a common problem for many, such as the cabbage family of plants. Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that can be green, yellow, brown, red or black, and their mouth is designed to pierce plant stems. This insect sucks the liquid from your plants, often resulting in their untimely death. If you begin to see ants on your plants, that's your first clue that you could have an aphid invasion in the works.
Control ants, which bring and tend to aphids on plants, by sprinkling baby powder, black pepper and/or cinnamon around your garden bed that is experiencing the problem.
Wash the aphids off your plants' leaves with a sharp stream of water. Repeat daily until you see a reduction in the numbers of aphids.
Spray plants with insecticidal soap. This product is sold at nurseries in ready-to-use sprays or in concentrated formulas that you mix with water.
Introduce beneficial insects to your garden. Ladybugs like to eat aphids, and other insects such as lacewings also dine on them and other detrimental insects. Some plants, such as dill, naturally attract good insects. But to encourage beneficial insects, you must discontinue using pesticides.
Remove weeds such as mustard that might be growing near your vegetable garden, because they can harbor a population of aphids, which will move into your garden when they discover your delectable veggies.
Prune off leaves and branches that contain aphids. Burn this foliage or bag it for transport to your refuse disposal site.
Protect young plants with floating row covers or in a greenhouse until they are larger and better able to survive an aphid attack.