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Monday, July 25, 2016

Chemical Free Aphid Repellant

I don't like using chemicals in my yard. My husband has no problem spraying and tossing around chemicals like there's no tomorrow, which if he keeps it up, there might not be. But that's a dystopian future story I'm not going to write. Yet.

So we compromise. We use minimal chemicals, mostly to spray the nasty spiders and wasps. Everything else gets to live, mostly. I do sprinkle epsom salts on the slugs, partly to watch them shrivel and die and partly because it's a magnesium booster for the plants, something our soil is lacking. We use diatomaceous earth on the ants, because this area is overrun with ants and I'm tired of getting my ankles eaten every time I go out to work in the yard.

Recently, I noticed aphids on my roses. Not happiness and joy. Aphids are evil. Not as evil as wasps, but getting there. I didn't want to hose my roses with dish soap once a week for the rest of the summer, a great trick I learned from my dad but not feasible in that area of the yard. I didn't want to use a systemic bug killer treatment on them because one, those are some nasty chemicals, and two, I want to cook with my roses.

Then I remembered something a neighbor told me a long time ago. We were visiting on her front porch and I complimented her gorgeous roses. Then I asked her why she had banana peels in her roses. Were her kids being lazy? Turns out she threw banana peels under her roses any time she ate bananas. They kept the aphids away.

I tried it. Guess what? It works like a charm. No more aphids in my roses. No chemicals, no fuss, no spraying, and bonus, I'm composting banana peels.

So if you see black banana peels under my rose bushes, don't worry. I'm keeping the aphids away.

On that same note, that's why I have marigolds growing among my cucumbers and melons and onions growing in the middle of the green beans.