How to Control Aphids in Your Home Vegetable Garden

According to a study by the USDA, aphids rank as the top insect to do damage to people’s home vegetable gardens. You may agree with those findings. Aphids are very common throughout the world and come in all shapes and sizes. They feed on pretty much everything and when they are done feeding on a plant their young will develop wings, move to the next plant and the process starts all over.

No need to fear though as you are in luck. There are a number of ways to get rid of aphids, all of which are safe, easy to use and obtain. Some solutions you can buy, but many others you can make on your own.

Let’s start with the #1 way to get rid of aphids. Number 1, not because it is the easiest to implement or the cheapest, but number 1 because it works and that is bringing in the aphids predator. In other words another insect that will feed on the aphids. You can attract this predator by planting various herbs such as fennel or cilantro (in some cases), but the fastest way is to hit up your local garden store and buy some. The predator I am referring to are ladybugs. For about $20 you can get a few hundred to a few thousand and they eat their weight in aphids almost daily.

Another good and safe way to take care of your aphid population is to use sprays. There are a variety to choose from such as hot pepper and garlic sprays to soapy and neem oil sprays. All will work, some better than others, and if you buy one in the store expect to pay anywhere from $7 to $20 depending on the brand name, size etc. You can also make your own by doing various combinations of dish soap and water, or dish soap, baking soda/powder and water.

A third way, and the most inexpensive way, is to use yellow sticky traps. In my local home store you can get a 3 pack for $2. Hang a few around the plants where the aphids are and give it a shake. The ones that can fly will get stuck and eventually when the others start to fly they will end up there as well. Just keep in mind the yellow sticky trap does not distinguish good and bad bugs so use with caution.

The final way is to use diatamaceous earth. Without going into great detail on it, DE, is a safe way to control pests in your garden. It is fairly cheap and easy to get. The cost is about $10 to $15. The downfall of using DE is, just like yellow sticky traps, it does not distinguish between good insects and bad insects. It will affect them all. I try to use DE as a last resort if nothing else works.

Start with getting some ladybugs. That will be your best and safest bet. Within a few days after applying the ladybugs, your aphid issue should be handled.

Want to Know the Incredible Story of Home Herb Gardening? The Journey of Growing Herbs Begins Here

Home herb gardens can be traced back to the ancient Chinese and the Egyptians. In addition, medieval documents make several references which indicate that herbs have been used in homes since Biblical times.

ALL IN ONE: FLAVORS/DRINKS/RELIEF and believe or not, PEST CONTROL – It simply cannot be denied that the benefits of an herb garden at home are many, because not only can herbs be used to add flavor to food, but they can also be used for making numerous types of tea, for treating many medical conditions, and even as a means of pest control.

IN OR OUT – YOU CAN HAVE IT BOTH WAYS – Furthermore, you can grow your own herbs either indoors or outdoors, and they can be grown in containers or directly in beds. Interestingly enough, you can grow an admirable herb garden on a relatively small piece of ground.

FULLY FERTILE – Fertilizers are very rarely needed, and as such, it is best to make do without them. Another advantage of growing herbs is that you will not often encounter problems in terms of pests and diseases, although in hot, dry weather, you may encounter spider mites and aphids, although aphids only tend to attack fennel, anise, caraway, and dill.

SEED ME – Just as with many plants, herbs can be grown from seed or they can be grown from seedlings purchased from a garden center, although admittedly, more pleasure is deprived from growing herbs from seeds, bearing in mind that practically all herbs can be grown from seed.

HEY DON’T BURY ME – Because very few herbs have a deep root base, one should never cover them with too much soil. When growing from seed, it is necessary to start the seeds in a shallow box or other suitable container towards the end of winter.

WATCH OUT FOR THE TEMPERAMENTAL ONES! – An important point to realize is, the smaller the seed is, the shallower it should be planted. In fact, herbs such as fennel, dill, coriander, and anise, should all be planted directly in the garden as these are known to be temperamental with regards to being transferred as seedlings.

IT’S YOU WHO BENEFITS – Having your own home herb garden, either indoors or out, is extremely easy and it has several benefits, but you need to bear in mind that there is a phenomenal amount of information out there, and you would do well to at least familiarize yourself with some of it so that you can nurture a good understanding of herbs.

What to Do With Herbs From a Home Herb Garden

After the hard, but rewarding work of raising your own herbs, it is time to use them. It will be a bit of work to make the most complete use of your harvest from your home herb garden. Use proper timing and gain a bountiful harvest from your herb garden. An ideal day to pick your herbs is in the middle of summer on a morning that is neither wet nor windy.

Wind and heat will rob your herbs of their essential oils, and wet weather causes them to produce fewer of their fragrant oils. Leave your herbs growing, but selectively remove a portion of the growth, leaving at least two thirds of the foliage. Do this when the dew has evaporated but before the flowers have opened. Leaving a healthy amount of leaves lets the plant re-grow for another harvest. It may be that you will want to preserve the herbs you harvest now, for use at a later time. As you are picking, look the plant over carefully for insect damage.

Traditionally there have been three ways that are used to preserve herbs. Herbs can be dried, frozen, or packed in a medium such as vinegar or salt. Dry your herbs by putting several stems together in a bundle, twelve or fewer should be enough. Remove leaves from the ends of the stems and tie the bundle of stems with string. Hang this cluster of herb stems upside down in a cool location out of direct sun. Another approach would be to place individual leaves on a screen. You will need to turn them often so they dry evenly. Home herbalists also use ovens, microwaves and dehydrators to dry their herbs. Purists prefer more traditional ways.

Freezing herbs is not hard, either. Snip the herbs into small pieces, about one quarter of an inch in size. Put them on a wax paper lined cookie tray and freeze. Once they are frozen store them in a freezer bag. Using a medium is one more way to preserve your herbs. Popular vinegars with chopped mint or basil or tarragon are wonderful to season things with. Herbs stored this way will be good to use for several months. Make layers of herbs alternating with layers of salt to preserve your herbs in salt. Once the fresh herbs have dried completely you may separate the browned herb from the salt and store the flavoured salt in an airtight container.

Herbs are excellent to use fresh from the garden. Be certain to wash and clean your herbs before using them in recipes. One method is to place them in a bowl filled with cool water, or for a large quantity use the sink. Use a moderate amount of salt, for instance two tablespoons, in the water to force the insects to abandon the plant. A salad spinner is a great way to dry your washed herbs. There a many different herbs, with various uses. With some study and research you can learn the best ways to harvest, use and store your herbs. Some herbs need to be chopped or minced in different ways than some others. It only takes a little research to learn how to use herbs correctly.