Thursday, April 14, 2011

Question- Aphids in Lettuce

I really want to get back to real blogging but until then, I have another question!

The lettuce in our cold frame is growing wonderfully. But the aphids have discovered the bounty and moved in. I can't blame them, it is sheltered and well stocked with luscious provisions.

They haven't done any noticeable harm that I can see, but every time I pick lettuce, there is more of them. I've just been washing the little guys off. (Annette, you'll notice that I wrote about this AFTER you had salad at our house last night! Don't worry, a little extra protein never hurt!) I'm afraid they will start doing major damage if they keep increasing. There is also lots of ants in the cold frame, too. I've heard that sometimes ants raise aphids.

I hate use chemicals on something we are eating. Do you have any suggestions?


  1. Sow some TAGATES seeds. These little yellow flowers are good companion plants for your greens, and aphids don't seem to like them.
    You can also give your greens a "wash" with either left over eco washing up water, or a solution of urine in water. Do this last one every couple of weeks, and it acts as a fertilizer too. (And as you wash your salad leaves before you eat them there's really no issue.)

  2. I have no suggestions, but I am interested in what others have to say!

  3. You might want to try putting some garlic cloves in the dirt with the lettuce. I believe it was aphids that I was having some trouble with liking my basil too much a couple of years ago and I had read about the garlic. It worked like a charm. If it's aphids that bother roses, too - then you could also put some aluminum foil underneath the lettuce. The theory is that they don't like light so they hang out on the underside of the plant and the foil reflects the light making them unhappy so they leave. Like I said, if it's aphids that attack basil, which I'm pretty sure it is then I know for sure that the garlic works. Hope you find something that helps soon!

  4. Well if you can get it there, Neem!
    It disorientates and sterilizes pest bugs with no harmful effects on beneficial insects and worms (no idea how but it works so so so well).
    No with holding period so you can pick and eat straight away.
    Edible, harmless (but don't take it if you 're trying to get pregnant or are)
    Either that or milky washing up water. they'll slip right off.

    I prefer to companion plant. So for lettuce things like chives, garlic, oregano.

  5. Hi Gina!
    Here are some things I found that may help you!

    I hope this helps!
    Katy :)

  6. we use to spray a mixture of vinegar and dish detergent on them. It still too cold here to have this problem. My cold frame lettuce is not as well along as yours.

  7. Try dilute powdered milk in a spray. If that doesn't work, try an insecticidal soap.

  8. I have been told that Diatomaceous earth works, but I have tried it with limited success. it's worth a shot. You (obviously) need to thoroughly wash all lettuce before eating/storing, which I would imagine most people do anyway.

    Good luck

  9. Great ideas! Thanks so much! Some of these things I've never heard of! Today is nice and warm, I let the cold frame open in hopes that something that enjoys aphids will come and dine!


  10. I don't have any suggestions (even though we have planted lettuce this week, so I may need to come back and read), but I did want to let you know that I found your blog and am enjoying it immensely. I also have 4 children and love to garden. I have already made a couple of your recipes! :)
    Visit me sometime!
    God Bless,
    Monica @ Natural Mama

  11. I hear lady bugs love aphids ...if you do not have any lady bugs where you live you can purchase them...not sure where yet?...I intent on purchasing lady bugs this year as we also had an issue with aphids last year...lady bugs can be found in my garden but just not in a good amount...
    It something I am looking forward to trying:))

  12. Gina, these are all good suggestions! Here is an article I found that seems to say the aphids won't ever harm the lettuce, they just make it harder to clean them:

    I've never had aphids on lettuce, but when I had them on broccoli, I could never get them all out- yuck. :-)

  13. I've read about soapy water. Neem is an oil, so that is how it bothers the bugs. I've also heard that lady bugs and praying mantis will eat those aphids. You can actually order them online. We did so and the kids watched them grow and set them free in the garden to eat the "bad bugs."

  14. I have heard of a mixture of dishwashing soap, water, and I can't remember the third thing. Maybe vinegar? If you use a natural dishwashing soap you won't have to worry about the chemicals of soap contaminating your lettuce. Hope you have a solution soon. Sherilyn

  15. First of all, you obviously live in a different gardening zone than I do (I am one of Canadian readers-who are just now getting rid of the snow)I am jealous that you are already enjoying your garden produce!
    Second of all-I would love to one day see a larger picture and tips about your 'cold frame' gardening!

  16. Thanks so much for all your tips. I'm trying some of your ideas now. I'll let you know if they work!

    Simone -
    You can check the garden category above to find the "hoop house update" that should give you information on our cold frame.


  17. I don't know if it really has worked, but I groung some egg shells and put them under my lettuce. The one with the shells seems to not have as much icky things on the leafs. I heard that wood ash around the bottom will work - and I'm going to try it. Also nasturshens planted nearby are supposed to help, but I couldn't find any to plant this year.


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