Bitter Grounds Magazine

espresso fueled ramblings

Written by catpaw

July 11, 2016

Dispatches from the urban garden front – the great aphid battle of 2016

During my daily garden check Saturday afternoon, I spotted a few aphids lurking on the morning glory.  For some reason, I found their mere presence an affront.  After last year’s pepper plant infestation debacle, I plotted and planned my little balcony garden layout with a ruthlessness that was sure to frighten off any invaders.  I posted herb guards around each pepper and went so far as to form a chive moat around one of the larger pepper plants. “HA … get through those defenses”. Who knew aphids liked morning glories? I was so obsessed with keeping them off my peppers, it didn’t dawn on me, the squishy pests would latch onto something else.

With embarassing glee, I flicked the few aphids I found, off the balcony and thought “Got ‘em”. Well … sometime during the night an entire battalion of aphids parachuted onto our 20th floor balcony and infested the entire plant. How could I go from a couple of aphids to a full blown invasion in 12 hrs? The plant was swarmed. I stomped up and down the balcony for a full 5 minutes berating the enemy…

… it soon became painfully obvious aphids don’t have ears.

TO ARMS … or more precisely a soapy insecticide bath.  Mom and I took to the battle field armed with our soapy water and covered the plant.  Whenever we ran fingers over a leaf, dozens of dying insects rolled off. For someone who hates getting her fingers dirty, this was particularly disturbing – little bugs by the handful …   clean, soapy bugs … but bugs nonetheless.

I just did another check this afternoon and must admit to a malicious happiness in seeing nothing but dead bugs. And the peppers are completely untouched.  We’ll have to keep a close on the garden, and tomorrow, we’ll give it another bath just in case. There’s bound to be a few of the little white vampires hiding somewhere.

The tomatoes are coming along nicely.  I’m soon going to have to get larger stakes, they’ve already outgrown the ones I used.  They’ve begun to grow rapidly, after a very slow start.

One of my tomato plants after a slow start

I had despaired over the cucumbers, convinced they had all given up, but last week they had a sudden burst of energy and are growing at an astonishing rate. Finger crossed, we may actually have a few. But the nasturtiums are going to out-do everything this year:

Nasturtiums on my balcony

I’ll grab a better shot later in the week. This one doesn’t do justice to their size, but I liked the colours. I’ll keep you posted on any further movement on the bug front.



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