When the invaders first showed up, I had no idea what they were. Now we know that aphids are everywhere in the Bay Area.
They have a little mouth tube and suck the sap out of the plant until it’s dead. Not good. And they breed like rabbits, the week after spotting the first one or two, you have a serious infestation. So what can you do about it?
We like to eat the rosemary, so that rules out a lot of insecticides on the market. What we needed, in true Berkeley style, is an organic, non-toxic, fair-trade, locally grown, homeopathic, humane aphid elimination system.
The first research I conducted told me that the natural enemy of the aphid is the lady bug. Fantastic, I will go out into the wild, capture a few lady bugs and bring them back to the house as pets.
I dreamed of whiling away my time watching scenes of carnage like this:
The lady bugs I caught had different plans and flew out the window.
The next option was to purchase one of the multiple aphid sprays in the market…
These sprays ticked a lot of the ‘Berkeley Style’ boxes, but at $14.99 Captain Frugal says ‘no, thank you’.
However, consultation with a nice young man at the plant nursery and a quick scan of bottle for active ingredients reveals that these sprays are nothing more than oil (2%) and water (98%)… . I think we might be onto something. Maybe I can make this at home.
Hiding in the cupboard somewhere was a little spray bottle, it was emptied and filled with a 50:50 mixture of extra virgin olive oil and water. I thought we should up the concentration of the active ingredient just to be on the safe side. I gave the bottle of shake and let it rip on the aphids.
Lordy, Lordy Lordy… it works! After a few days the aphid infestation was gone. It also makes the plants look nice and shiny (just don’t use too much, on one plant some of the leaves went black and fell off).
For those with an aphid problem on their salad greens, you can also mix in some balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and cut down on subsequent food preparation time.
Feel free to borrow TTTE’s intellectual property and try this at home. Otherwise I can mix you up a batch. It’ll be $14.99 + shipping and handling.