Garden pests: the battle against aphids, slugs and ants

African Daisy from the back step

This week has been very untypically Scottish with scorching sunshine and highs of 26 Celsius. Apart from the human enjoyment factor, the garden seems to have suddenly sprung to life, making the most of what is sure to be a very short spell of sunshine with a sudden flurry of flowers blooming and new growth on the greenery. The greenhouse too is seeing crazy temperatures and the little window opening gadget is really earning its keep, with the window open to relieve the heat by 10am most days.

With the heat comes the pest though, and we returned from a trip to New York to find that about a million aphids had moved into the greenhouse and taken up residence on our pepper plants. Cheeky blighters aren’t even paying rent!

The battle commences

I had been all confident that I’d be on top of things this year, with last years mass immigration of slugs into the quadgrows, I thought I’d taken care of that this year by wrapping a line of copper tape around each water reservoir to deter them. I have even installed some finer netting over the kale to try to defeat the cabbage moths who ate all of it last year.

Aphids were a surprise, I don’t normally have an issue with these in the greenhouse, but then again, this is our first time growing peppers.

So what to do?

Well there are a couple of schools of thought on dealing with aphids, you have the old gardeners’ remedies, popular amongst those who don’t want to use chemical sprays in their garden (especially if they are growing food) and then you have the various chemical bug killing sprays on the market, but which is best? Do they both work? Equally?

I feel an experiment coming on.

My main concern is that if I try something out and it doesn’t work, I could lose my pepper plants so I am a bit nervous, hence I decided that I’d shorten the risk by trying out the old gardeners’ remedy on one plant and the commercial bug spray on another. That way if one doesn’t work, I haven’t lost everything.

Old gardeners’ remedy

Very simply a solution of soap and water (dish soap does the job) and spray the plant, undersides of the leaves too, liberally. You may have to do this 3 or 4 times to ensure you kill all the newly hatching aphids before they have time to procreate.  The recommended solution is 4 tablespoons of soap to 1 gallon of water.

So far things are looking good and both plants seem to be aphid free, but I’ll keep an eye on them and hopefully by the end of next week I’ll know for certain.

Video diary for this garden pests update

 

 

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