Backyard Garden: Aphids Attack!

(Photo by Luc Viatur)

We’re a few weeks into our backyard experiment, and without looking closely all seems to be going exceptionally well. So many greens it almost rivals a Shakeology mix! The Mesclun Greens and the Arugula are sprouting nicely, the squash plants are growing wide and stately, and the corn has sprouted hand high seedlings that look delicate and pale but promise a luscious bounty in three months time. From a distance, all is verdant, growing and peaceful.

But.

While examining the vegetables yesterday  saw ants crawling all over the pepper plants. Curious, not having known that ants were into spicy food, I squatted down and peered closer. They were concentrating their activity on the tiny green bulbs at the center of each pepper plant, so I absentmindedly reached down to rub a few of them off. Only to have something green smear onto my fingers. Frowning, I peered at my thumb, and saw a tiny, tiny little green insect crawling over the ridges of my skin. Immediately  realized what was going on: aphids!

If you’re not aware, this is bad news. Aphids suck the juices right out of the plant, making them sickly and weak. What’s fascinating however is the symbiotic relationship between the ants and the aphids; the ants herd them and watch over them and milk them for their sap. It’s much akin to the relationship between a shepherd and his flock.

Rising to my feet, I went to authority on all things related to the garden, Esteban our CEO of Extreme Fitness Results. He frowned, shook his head, and sighed. Looks like we’re going to have to spray them.

A little research online has shown that there are a number of other options for us, ranging from blasting the plants with a hose to laying down sticky pads to organic soap to even burying banana peels close to the plant’s roots. Has anybody out there had any experience with aphids, and care to offer us any suggestions?

Here are some shots of the garden–the aphids are too small to be seen, but trust me, they’re there.