What is the difference between a garden expert and a novice gardener? The expert knows why his plant has died!
My normal defense against pests is to fail to wear my reading glasses. Three days ago I opened my eyes and examined my peppers in the greenhouse. They looked extremely moribund and were plastered (technical term!) with aphids, greenfly in this case.
Aphids: they are also known as plant lice and in Britain as greenflies, blackflies or whiteflies
I don’t know if they had succumbed to aphid because they were stressed (it happens) or more likely, the stress was due to the aphids. I immediately went into cultural control mode. I gently slid my finger over the underside of the quite large oval leaves and dislodged as many as possible. They parachuted out in droves. Then, with my finger over the end of the hosepipe, I managed to squirt away those I’d missed.
There is method in this madness. I would not get all the aphids, but some kind of balance would be restored with their predators. Of course, I could have got out my 65 pence little sprayer, but that would have been too much trouble and may have also harm the beneficial ladybirds.
This morning, even with my specs, I could see very few aphids and the peppers looked a little better.
And then a snail made a call....