Aphids hate the cold. At the moment, with the unusually warm weather they are thriving in protected micro-climates in gardens all over Melbourne. Today, when I was out pottering in the garden, I noticed that all of my parsley and coriander plants were covered in aphids. The plants have been quite close to a north facing brick wall, so it’s probably been warm enough for them to flourish. At least it’s a great excuse to get out the macro lens and take some snaps.
In small numbers aphids are not a problem. In larger numbers such as these, they can really knock young plants about. They are sap suckers, and love to congregate on new growth.
It’s easy to spot aphids. If you notice your plants starting to get unusually curling leaves, or looking a bit poorly take a closer look. Examine the new growth of the plant, and especially on the undersides of the leaves. At their maximum they are the size of a pin head, but can be much smaller. They can be green or black.
If you find aphids on your plants you have a few organic control methods at your disposal:
- Wipe them off with your fingers: this probably wont get them all, but will reduce the numbers.
- Spray the plants with a jet of water: this should knock them off the plant and disturb them.
- Spray the plants with a diluted white oil solution made from detergent and vegetable oil.
Given their large numbers on my plants, I opted to wipe them off with my fingers and then spray with white oil. I’ve also moved the plants out to the middle of the yard, away from the protection of the house. Hopefully spending a few nights out in the cold will be the final nail in their coffin!