Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sacrificial beauty

Too pretty to eat, really, which is a good thing since I'm not partial to nasturtiums, anyway, and I just planted them because they're supposed to help deter pests from attacking the rest of the garden. Maybe I should have read into that a little further before planting, though, because I'm starting to suspect that they don't repel the bugs (like marigolds do), but instead act as sacrificial lambs, giving the bugs a more appealing meal than what's available in the rest of the garden.

What makes me say that? Well, the last time I planted nasturtiums (exactly a decade ago, in case you were wondering), they ended up getting totally infested with tiny black bugs, which grossed me out so much that I vowed never to plant them again. Mr. Square Foot Garden recommends planting them, though, so I figured I would give it a try. I've been checking every day for signs of nasty black dudes, and as of yesterday, all was quiet on the northern front. But here's what I found today:
Son of a bitch. Both nasturtium clumps have been totally blanketed with every toxic substance I can find in our newly-organized garden shed, so hopefully these suckers are toast (aphids ... suckers ... hee). But now that I've attracted every aphid in Cuyahoga County into my backyard, I fear for the rest of the plants. Looks like me and the sprayer full of Sevin are going to be bosom pals after all.


Anonymous said...

On our grape vine, we have a colony of ants that are farming the aphids. The ants are periodically milking the aphids. It is really fun to watch. At least, it would be if the aphids weren't draining the life out of the grape vine.

Anonymous said...

A strong spray of water works just as well as toxic chemicals and is much more kid friendly. If you mix baking soda in with the water, that works well too.

Anonymous said...

And don't forget that ladybugs love aphids!