how to / resources / veggie garden

When aphids attack…

…try not to panic!

It’s another hot and humid morning here, and, over a second cup of tea (which most mornings makes me feel almost human) we have tested the chemical levels in the fish tanks, fed the fish, ogled at the fish, commented on the fish, visited with the Salmon Brothers (also fish) and are just generally feeling cruisey and ever so slightly smug that the system is functioning quite well…until…O.M.G….APHIDS IN THE GROWBEDS!

I am tempted to say we have been invaded by zillions of them, but that would be a total exaggeration! But there are plenty of them and seemingly they have a appetite only for the Asian Greens (and the dill). I am immediately alarmed, as I have read that they can take hold and then they are hard to shift. I remember that lady beetles are a predator, and having spotted them on the zucchini in the soil garden, I quickly go and pick them off…but by the time I get them to the grow beds, most of them have crawled out of my cupped hands; and when placed on, or near the affected plants, they decide almost in unison that they are not so interested, and take to the skies. Hmmmm…

I can’t go and grab anything from the arsenal that would be used on our soil garden to fight such pests—typically a white oil or some sort of pyretherin, as these may affect the fish, as they filter into the system and into the tanks. I dredge up from somewhere in my brain that ‘an aquaponics source of unknown origin’ used diluted vinegar and another one mentioned worm wee. Both are organic, and both should not present too much harm to the fish in the system…so we mix a concoction of both (half a cup of water, half a cup of already dilute worm wee and two capfuls of apple cider vinegar) which we load into a spray bottle, and spray liberally onto the fat little sap suckers! Take that enemy of the garden!

I then decide to go and check my sources and can’t find the reference to worm wee or vinegar anywhere! Uh oh… 😦

In my searching for validation, I find reference to biological controls (lacewings, lady beetles and parasitic wasps, and even a place where you can buy them in a jar—Bugs 4 Bugs in Queensland—must keep that up my sleeve…); Neem Oil (but you have to keep it away from the fish which is a bit of an issue); a Pesticide Soup recipe which contains water, onions, garlic, cayenne pepper, chilli powder and black pepper, and then a pearler from Brendon’s Aquaponics Farm (a YouTube channel) which describes the making of a tomato-leaf tea. Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) are part of the nightshade family, and according to Brendon and his sources, made into a tea, will rid you of an aphid infestation. He posted that mid 2012 and there is no evidence that everything else in the system died…

So tonight we make Tomato Nightshade Tea…

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