One of the best things you can do at home is to start your very own vegetable garden when it comes to sustainability. With hardships going on nowadays, especially with the pandemic going on, it won’t hurt to have a more affordable way of having produce.
Another advantage you’ll have when starting a vegetable garden at home is that the veggies you’ll grow won’t have that pesticide on them. Compared with regular, store-bought produce, homegrown vegetables are much healthier and safer to eat.
With that said, a vegetable garden is surely one of the best things to have. However, starting one may not be as easy as some people say. One of the biggest challenges for your garden is pests. Pests are some of the biggest reasons why crops fail. One common pest that comes to mind are aphids. Aphids, some of the peskiest insects around, can easily wreck your garden. Here are some tips that can help you with aphids:
Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that you can commonly find on small shrubs and trees. It’s rare to find solitary aphids since they’re mostly social insects. This fact means that aphids usually appear in colonies.
Aphids can come in several colors: white, green, orange, black, pink, brown, etc. Although some of these insects are wingless, some forms come out during certain seasons that have wings. These insects also have stylets, a long tube-like tongue that the insect uses to suck in plant sap.
Some varieties have fluffy-like wool on them. These aphids are called wooly aphids and are some of the most common pests around. All aphids love eating plant sap. Once an aphid colony destroys a plant, they multiply and transfer to other plants nearby. This behavior is what makes aphids so harmful to homegrown gardens and even commercial orchards.
As mentioned above, aphids suck plant sap and grow into colonies and, if left unchecked, will transfer from plant to plant. Another way that aphids damage your plants is by producing honeydew.
This sweet substance often leads to fungal growth and sooty mold, a plant disease that destroys plant’s leaves. Sooty mold is often characterized by black pigmentations and weakness on leaves.
The honeydew produced by aphids also attracts ants to your plants. Although ants might be harmless, these ants form a symbiotic relationship with aphids. What happens is that these ants herd the aphids and harvest the honeydew. In return, the ants protect the aphids from predators. If the ants don’t eat the honeydew, they’ll also feed on your plants.
There is no redeeming quality when it comes to aphids. They aren’t beneficial pollinators, so there’s no reason why you should allow them in your garden. With that said, here are some tips on removing aphids from your garden. You can find out more on Gardener’s Path on how to remove these pests.
When your plants are healthy, they often produce natural pesticides that help ward off insects, including aphids. If a plant is weak or is suffering from disease, it loses that ability to produce its own pesticide, therefore inviting in pests.
Make sure to properly take care of your plants by providing proper circulation and adequate water. If you suspect a plant is already dying and beyond saving, the only option is to remove it from your patch. Remember, it only takes one plant for an army of aphids to colonize your garden.
Avoid nasty commercially-produced pesticides in your garden by making a safer, DIY version of pesticides. All you need is a spray bottle, a mild liquid detergent, and water. Mix them all for a soapy solution inside the bottle. Spray the solution directly on aphids and problematic areas of the plant.
There are also other DIY pesticides you can use that pack a punch for pests. You can mix in neem or vegetable oil to your soapy solution. You can also use a mixture of water and chopped garlic cloves or a mixture of water and red hot chili as a pesticide.
One of the best ways to counter nature is by using nature itself. When you want to get rid of pests such as aphids the natural way, introduce their natural predators inside your garden. One popular predator is the Ladybug. Ladybugs might look pretty and cute, but in reality, they’re voracious aphid-predators.
One adult ladybug can eat up to 25 aphids a day. Larval forms or Aphid lions of ladybugs are even hungrier, consuming up to three times more than mature ones. Another predator you may want help from are birds. You can attract birds by placing bird feeders near your garden. Other beneficial predators you can introduce into your garden are braconid wasps and lacewing larvae.
There are also certain plants that aphids hate. You can use plants such as nasturtiums, dill, and fennel in your gardens to ward off aphids. These insects hate the aroma of these plants.
Starting a garden is one of the most productive things to do during the pandemic. Not only can it provide fresh and clean vegetables to eat, but you’ll also enjoy the physical and mental benefits of starting a garden. Of course, don’t let pests such as aphids destroy all your hard work. The tips mentioned above are just some ways to help you remove aphids from your garden.