Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Aphids strike but there's more...

Last year aphids ran amok on my broad beans. Their predators couldn't keep up and in the end I lost a batch of beans to them.

This year I'm being vigilant and this morning, there they were! I'd read that they love the tips which should be pinched out upon their appearance.

To pinch the tops out, just take a thumb and forefinger, squish and pull. At least that was my method.

You're left with an earthy green fragrance on your fingers that makes up for the sense of destruction unleashed on a delicate plant (I have no sympathy for the aphids). Pinching out tips also allows the plant to concentrate its energy on growing the beans so if you're the type to get all emotional about plants (i regularly slap myself around the chops to get a grip), no need worry in this case.

Being new to the demands of this blog, I forgot to take a picture before releasing my aphid rage. My garden has a small standalone, sun-drenched veg patch where most of my broad beans are, but I also planted some out in the main long bed which runs for about 7 metres. My rule of thumb is to try and experiment to see what works where and then try and figure out why. I could just listen to experts but I have a stubborn streak...

So I went over to see if the aphids had struck in the long bed too. Immediately it looked like they had (where do they come from?), but when I took pictures and looked more closely I wasn't so sure:

Look closely and you'll see insects - a light green one on the main leaf and a small dark green one on the base of the leaf on the left. Are they good or bad? The light green one looks particularly dodgy

Close up these appear to be black spots - unless aphids are cunningly designed to appear like spots until I walk away and then they party again? A bit of googling and I'm none the wiser. Most of the leaves are fine except the top lot. The presence of predators indicates that aphids are getting frisky on my beans so I remain confused and to the expert probably appear a bit thick. 

For now I'll keep pinching the tops out and keeping an eye on my prizes but feel free to tell me the obvious answer


Nome said...

Those are aphids too! Quick, squish 'em before they lay eggs!

Love the blog! :)

Hapless kitchen gardener said...

Thank you Nome! I'm off out with the torch...

The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

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I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.