We have a small organic community garden plot
in Berkeley, California. Lately we have been experiencing ever-increasing
numbers of aphids which are doing considerable damage to our winter greens.
We've tried spraying them off with a high-pressure nozzle, hand-picking them,
and just recently, applying a mild soap solution. Can anyone recommend any
other successful strategies for dealing with these critters, or ways of
maintaining our plot that will make it less desirable for them to inhabit?
Aphids seem to be attracted to stress of one kind or another. In
community gardens where space is limited, stress is often from
over-crowding. If spacing is the problem, it can often be
overcome by removing/thinning every other plant or even more. Over-watering,
under-watering, and soil deficiency are other stress inducers, but
overcrowding is the most common in a community garden. Remove the stress
and the aphids will usually disappear. When planting winter
greens put yourself in the seed's shoes. How large do you want to be
when you grow up? Give the seed enough space to become all that it can
be and it usually will. When the plant is growing whenever the leaves
touch the neighbor plant's leaves, try removing the neighbor plant.
Roots don't like to intrude on another plants root zone...very stressful for a
Add a good amount of compost and/or a brown/green mulch around all the
plants. The mulch will retain moisture and will feed plants when
decomposed. Add mulch layers regularly.
Wishing you bountiful cabbages,