Monday, February 7, 2011

Aphids Abound

Our star crossed artichokes are growing. The aphids have taken note & set up residence under the leaves of one plant in particular. Our soil is thick with ants. When we first moved into our house, ants launched a monumental assault on the house. Outside, if you'd stick a shovel into the ground, the soil was boiling with ants. We heavily mulched the soils around the house for years, which seemed to dissipate the ant population. But it's still an issue as you can see by the thick covering of underside of the leaves on the artichoke plant pictured above.

I picked up some lady bugs to introduce in the garden tonight. I've tried using lady bugs in the past without much success. The ladybirds seemed overwhelmed in the past & frankly not very interested in eating. Perhaps they were on a diet.

I'm hoping these fine red shelled friends are voraciously hungry and will enjoy the feast.


  1. Don't get discouraged with the ladybug use. I'd used them for several years in Southern California and it typically takes a few months (and sometimes multiple batches of bugs) to see a noticeable difference. I like to think of them as one cog in the anti-aphid arsenal along with some organic insecticidal soap, and sprays of water from the hose.

  2. The other thing that might help is to seriously deal with your ants- you could use diatomaceous earth on the ants, which is super safe. Ants are known for 'farming' aphids because they milk the honeydew off the aphids' bodies, which they secrete.

    And the other, other thing you could do is get some hover flies, the larvae of which eat aphids. Gardeners, therefore, will sometimes use companion plants to attract hoverflies. Those reputed to do so include alyssum, Iberis umbellata, statice, buckwheat, chamomile, parsley, and yarrow.

    Good luck!!

  3. Thanks for the tips and encouragement.

    El Gaucho, I just sprayed down the artichokes which greatly improved the situation. I'll let the ladybugs loose after the sun sets (recommended on the container as ladybugs, like bees, don't fly at night).

    Paula, we have a lot of buckwheat growing already. I'll add a bit more of some of the other plants as well. Eric and I added diatomaceous earth to our raised planter beds and noticed a difference. Great idea to add it to the other soil. And as bad as the situation is, it really is much better when we first opened the gates to Camp Ramshackle.

  4. Basil. Mrs.Meyers Basil Soap specifically. VERY diluted. Has helped just about all my plants that have been indundated with insects.

  5. morgaineotm, I'm hoping on it. Thanks for the tip.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.