Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Aphids, The Watercannon Approach

My broad beans this year have been rather poor. I'm not sure why, I think I sowed them early enough, in pots and planted out in timely manner. They seem to have been occupying their bed forever, and I really do need the room for winter brassicas, which are getting severely overcrowded in their nursery quarters. Maybe it's the dry weather, maybe the variety, it's Masterpiece Green Longpod, not one I've grown before, and I certainly won't be bothering again! I will probably go back to Bunyard's Exhibition, if anyone has recommendations I'd be grateful to hear what has worked well for you.
One of the things broad beans often seem to fall prey to is blackfly.And mine is worse this year because they've been so slow to mature. 
 I don't use insecticides** in the garden, so in a case like this, which I admit I have let get a bit out of hand, I use the water cannon approach. That is supporting the plant stem in your left hand, the hose pipe in your right and using a medium strong spray, (don't go mad and blast the leaves off) you can remove most of the aphids quite easily. It will take a few minutes to do a row of plants, and although the aphids will gradually come back and you'll have to do it again in a week or two, it does get rid of most of the little devils ok, and your insect and bird population will thank you for it. I do the same with roses if I find outbreaks of green aphids that sometimes infest the flower buds. But generally speaking, a healthy insect population means that aphids are not normally much of a problem for me.

**I noted yesterday that we have once again, a wasp nest in the roof space, which sadly may have to be chemically removed if the wasps start to raid my beehives as they did last year, will have to see how it goes.

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