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Friday, 24 July 2015

Homemade Greenfly Spray

This summer I am growing a few different varieties of chillies on my home office window sill.  They are coming along nicely considering it was very late when I planted the seeds.

However, about 75% of them are infested with greenfly (little green aphids), so I went looking online for an effective organic / natural home-made green aphid killer !  I found a couple of easy options which I will share with you here.

You'll need a spray bottle to disperse the aphid death spray.  Those 1 litre (half a pint in the USA approx) hand held spray bottles are great.  You could always recycle one you have previously used for those household cleaning sprays, making sure that you clean it thoroughly inside or you could have a problem !

I will add my results to this post when I have made and tried each method.  It should be interesting !  I would also love to hear from you if you have tried either of them, or if you have any other great natural aphid killing methods.

Remember, that you should always spray your plants in the evening, preferably after sunset or on very dull days, or in the shade.  This is because wet leaves will burn in the sunlight.

1.  Tomato Leaf Aphid Spray

To me, this is the perfect Greenfly Killer.
The advantage of the tomato leaf spray is that it does not kill the beneficial insects that also inhabit your garden, just the aphids.
Tomatoes, as well as potatoes and all other members of the Nightshade family of plants (Solanaceae), contain alkaloids in their leaves, which are toxic to aphids (and to humans also if ingested in sufficiently large amounts, so just in case, please keep this spray away from children and label the bottle clearly).
The alkaloid in green tomatoes, tomato leaves and their stalks is called tomatine, and is the plants natural defence system against invaders that want to eat it or harm it.

1-2 cups of green tomato leaves
2 cups of water
Something to strain it through

Chop the tomato leaves into small pieces, then put them with the 2 cups of water into a container.  Leave to soak overnight.
Next day, strain the leaves out of the liquid using the muslin cloth, squeezing all the liquid out.  You can put the soggy leaves on your compost heap.
Add 2 more cups of water to the resulting liquid, then put it into your spray bottle, ready to use.

23rd August 2015 Test Results
I made up the spray as per the recipe above, and used it on my 4, very affected, chilli plants which had been indoors.
The greenfly struggled and many died.  I wiped of the leaves gently with my fingers, removing the eggs (hundreds of them) as I did this.
There were no greenfly for a few days, but then a few reappeared and I have had to spray again and check for eggs again.  There were a few new eggs already !
So, it seems that the spray 'checks' them for a while, but doesn't kill em 100%.  You may need to reapply it every few days or so to really prevent the aphids getting ahold.

2.  Green Aphid Smoothie

This one is a bit yukky for anyone who is squeamish.

Pick as many of the greenly off the plants as you can, squash them to kill them, and drop them into a cup of water.  Just do one type of aphid at a time, as this method will only deter the same species as you made the smoothie from.

Put the cup of water and dead greenflies into a blender and zap it into a smooth watery liquid.  Pour this liquid into your spray bottle for use on the plants you wish to deter greenflies from living on.

Note:  If you make this smoothie with greenfly, then it will only deter greenfly.. If you have a whitefly problem also, you need to make a separate smoothie containing whiteflies to deter them.

This won't harm your blender in any way, but it may not be the method for you if you are vegetarian !  Unless you have a special blender just for garden use.

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