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Nontoxic Pest Control

As you know, we have a tiny garden in self-watering planters on our porch. This makes caring for our herbs and veggies easy. We only need to refill the water reservoirs about once a week, and we get much better results than we did with the old pots. However, we hit a bump in the road in our mini garden paradise  last weekend: tons of tiny, long-legged, red bugs all over the tomato plants. After a little research, I found out they were red aphids, and although they don’t usually kill full-grown plants, they can destroy new growth. Not on my tomato plants.

Aphid-free

Aphid-free

I’d rather avoid pesticides, if possible, so I started looking online for organic ways to get rid of aphids. A gang of ladybugs would be great, but failing that, the most common suggestion was spraying the leaves with a mixture of dish detergent and water (a couple tablespoons per gallon, spray both sides of the leaves, and rinse off after a couple hours). Even better, some people suggested just blasting the plants with a garden hose, or in my case, a particularly powerful spray bottle. And it worked! I sprayed away all the aphids that I could see, then did the same every other day for the few stragglers left. A week later, I don’t see any aphids at all. Who knew it would be that easy?

I suspect the aphids may have been drawn to the high nitrogen content in the vermicompost that we used this year. Our greens to browns ratio is always a bit top heavy. Now we have more of an incentive to keep it balanced: not wanting to deal with disgusting bugs!

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