• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Aphid Infestation on Cover Crop--Should I Care?  RSS feed

 
Nicole Alderman
garden master
Posts: 1713
Location: Pacific Northwest
266
cat duck forest garden hugelkultur cooking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I planted a LOT of daikon radishes all around my property in new garden beds, mostly because they grow and I knew that I wouldn't get around to really growing much in those beds this year as I'm pregnant (and pregnancy doesn't love me). Up until now, nothing has been eating the radishes--not the ducks, slugs, deer or any other pests. And then, about a week ago I started noticing white "fuzziness" all over some of my radishes. I didn't really take a good look, because I don't plan on using the radishes, and I assumed it was just some sort of fungus since fungus loves us here in the rainy, cloudy Pacific Northwest. This morning, I showed it to my my husband, and he goes, "Wow, those are just coated in aphids!"

So, I guess I have an aphid infestation!

The question is, should I do anything about it? The aphids aren't on any of my other plants (yet), just on my monocrops of radishes. If I leave it be, will ladybugs (who are very rarely seen on my property) populate and take down their numbers before the aphids spread to my other plants. I'd love to see more ladybugs, and it looks like I've got dinner laid out for them, but I also don't want the aphids eating all my dinner, either!

What should I do?
104_1276.JPG
[Thumbnail for 104_1276.JPG]
So many aphids!
104_1277.JPG
[Thumbnail for 104_1277.JPG]
Close-up
104_1279.JPG
[Thumbnail for 104_1279.JPG]
Another close up
 
Marco Banks
Posts: 593
Location: Los Angeles, CA
56
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It might be a huge gift to you.

All those aphids are going to invite ladybugs, spiders and all sorts of other beneficial insects to your yard.  The radishes look like they are going to seed very nicely, so even if you want to capture seed for next year, the aphids are not really hurting anything.  In fact, they may be sacrificial plants that keep the aphids off of other stuff.

I'd say let nature take its course and see if you get a host of predator insects coming in to feast.

I did a quick Google search of plants that attract ladybugs:

Angelica.
Calendula.
Caraway.
Chives.
Cilantro.
Cosmos.
Dill.
Fennel.

By the time you planted those plants and they grew to maturity, your radishes will be long gone --- but for future reference, you may want to plant a mix of plants that will attract and keep the ladybugs in your garden.
 
David Good
gardener
Posts: 522
Location: Equatorial tropics
30
books forest garden
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Marco Banks wrote:

All those aphids are going to invite ladybugs, spiders and all sorts of other beneficial insects to your yard.  The radishes look like they are going to seed very nicely, so even if you want to capture seed for next year, the aphids are not really hurting anything.  In fact, they may be sacrificial plants that keep the aphids off of other stuff.

I'd say let nature take its course and see if you get a host of predator insects coming in to feast.

I did a quick Google search of plants that attract ladybugs:

Angelica.
Calendula.
Caraway.
Chives.
Cilantro.
Cosmos.
Dill.
Fennel.

By the time you planted those plants and they grew to maturity, your radishes will be long gone --- but for future reference, you may want to plant a mix of plants that will attract and keep the ladybugs in your garden.


Very good advice, Marco. I agree. Leave them alone and they will bring in just what is needed - and next time, definitely plant a wider variety or just let the weeds come up near your gardens. Great question.
 
Nicole Alderman
garden master
Posts: 1713
Location: Pacific Northwest
266
cat duck forest garden hugelkultur cooking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for the advice! I'll leave them be, then. I'll also try and get more of the ladybug attractors next year. Last year I tried growing calendula, but it didn't make it. Dill and cilantro grew, but they didn't self-seed, nor did the fennel plant (replanted another one this year). I tried planting dill again this year, too, but my seeds must have been too old. Either that, or the plants that love to take over on other people's properties don't like mine! The chives love it here, and I have a bunch of them growing in nearby beds. I'll try the angelica, cosmos and caraway next year--maybe they will love me!

As for not planting a monocrop, well, it wasn't really intentional. I had sewn field peas and oats there, too, but the bunnies and ducks and slugs ate them all! In another area, I planted beets and green beans and cucumbers, too. The bunnies ate all those as well . I was beginning to think nothing liked eating daikons (can't blame the ducks, slugs, or bunnies--I don't like the radishes, either!) ...that is, until the aphids found them!

Here's hoping those aphids bring some beneficial bugs...and that my ducks don't try to eat all those beneficial bugs!
 
Marco Banks
Posts: 593
Location: Los Angeles, CA
56
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Fennel self-seeds and grows all over the place in my garden.  It's a bit of a pain in the ass, but I let some grow every year just for bio-diversity and for the buggies.  Never-the-less, I'm constantly pulling fennel plants.  If you don't get them when they are young, they send a heavy and deep tap root down.  I suppose that they might by dynamic accumulators, but I've got enough comfrey to feed a flock of sheep, so I don't need any monster fennel plants super-seeding the world.

No need to buy a fennel plant --- just use the seeds in your spice rack.  Once it grows, you'll have volunteer fennel for the rest of your life.  Same with poppy seeds, which would grow well in the NW.
 
Nicole Alderman
garden master
Posts: 1713
Location: Pacific Northwest
266
cat duck forest garden hugelkultur cooking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That was actually what I was hoping for with my fennel. My mother, who lives 30 minutes away, still has fennel popping up around her property, and she weeded them all out at least three years ago because they were growing everywhere on her one acre! My fennel plant last year and this year both were taken from her property. Last year, the fennel went to seed, but it never sprouted up around my garden. This years fennel is only about 6 inches tall. Maybe they don't like my hugel beds, where they can't get their root through the wood?

I really wish they would self seed for me, because I love the taste of fennel!

(And, yeah, poppies also self-seed all over my mom's property, so I know they do well in my climate. My property seems to be another matter entirely, though I haven't tried growing them yet)
 
Yes, my master! Here is the tiny ad you asked for:
Learn, Design, Teach, & Inspire with Permaculture games.
FoodForestCardGame.com
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!