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Oh no! Aphids in the Asparagus!!

a
AGM_Cape_Cod Apr 16, 2009 05:41 AM

We just found out that the additional fringe we noticed last year in the asparagus stalks we let grow out is caused by aphids. Has anyone dealt with this problem? TIA.

  1. Gio Apr 16, 2009 06:02 AM

    UMass Amherst has a wonderful Extension service which helps home gardeners and commercial growers as well. That's where you want to get your information. But, I do know that the asparagus ferns should have been removed in last Autumn when you put the garden to bed. Those aphids do have natural predators but if you have a heavy infestation you might have to rely on a natural spray.

    Here's the UMass Insect Management page:
    http://www.umassvegetable.org/soil_cr...

    1. Sam Fujisaka Apr 17, 2009 05:28 PM

      Strange. Growing up we had a big perennial asparagus patch and lots of aphid problems on the other annual crops. The asparagus never suffered. Maybe because during the long period of production we harvested young stalks after only a few days and never maintained any foilage. Good thing we didn't have root aphids.

      1. m
        mochimunchie Apr 17, 2009 07:33 PM

        For aphids on any vegetable I make a dilute soap solution using a tablespoon or so of dishsoap and a quart of water. I spray this generously right on to the plant. Knocks them out every time. This also works with ants on citrus trees.

        3 Replies
        1. re: mochimunchie
          kchurchill5 Apr 17, 2009 07:39 PM

          Works great to get rid of them, but they may come back. There are many oils that you can use on vegetables that are not harmful, organic and safe. I mix them often with baking soda and JOY detergent. The JOY, and less the only one, not lemon sent ... not dove but JOY and then baking soda which keeps the soap and oil on the plants and then the oil.

          I will have to search my records, but there are many that work. The soap spray will work immediately, but more than likely they may come back. Aphids are very common and do a lot of damage quickly. I haven't had problems lately, but with my garden I had to keep on top of it.

          1. re: kchurchill5
            s
            Sal Vanilla Apr 30, 2009 11:28 AM

            The oil is neem oil. It is unbelievably stinky, but incredibly effective against aphids (my nemesis). It is safe to eat, not a chemical and the smell does go away.

            Does anyone know if the smell penetrates into the plant like if you ate it, you would taste it?

            1. re: Sal Vanilla
              Sam Fujisaka Apr 30, 2009 07:41 PM

              I've worked a lot on Integrated Pest Management (IPM). One time I was with a really great Okie international entomologist working on rice IPM in northern Vietnam. We were at a reseach institute's plot with various hopefully botanical pesticides. My buddy drawled, "damm, lookit thet there NEEM, hits been eat'n tu death bah thu bughs!" Sure enough, the neem was the most demaged by defoliators.

        2. angelo04 Apr 27, 2009 12:17 PM

          I had an aphid problem and ordered live lady bugs online. It took care of the problem. THe lady bugs stick around until there aren;t any aphids left to eat.

          1. Gio Apr 27, 2009 05:32 PM

            If you're interested, this is one of the very best suppliers of natural/organic problem solvers for gardeners. I've used them for about 20 years for everything from vegetable gardening to lawn protection. They are very easy to contact and their service is very user friendly.

            http://www.gardensalive.com/default.asp

            1. Dommy Apr 28, 2009 12:26 PM

              We released Lady Bugs in our garden just in case...

              --Dommy!

              1. angelo04 Apr 28, 2009 12:59 PM

                I normally do lady bugs but I went with praying mantis this season and my wife called to say they ariived and are staying on the porch until I get home. She was alittle freaked out by the "LIVE INSECTS" label. lol.

                1. a
                  AGM_Cape_Cod Apr 30, 2009 10:20 AM

                  I don't know what happened to the aphids over the winter. We cut the grown out fronds in the fall. All I know now is that we have gotten a bumper crop of asparagus this year. We will just have to wait and see whether we get the same growth on the frond that indicate aphids.

                  1. s
                    Sal Vanilla Apr 30, 2009 11:39 AM

                    Something else that just popped into my head: make sure you kill off the ants near the asparagus. They herd/cultivate aphid populations. Like they corral them so they can get at that honeydew sticky stuff that aphids secrete when they eat your asparagus.

                    Just a thought... for what it is worth.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Sal Vanilla
                      Glencora Apr 30, 2009 08:02 PM

                      Good point about the ants, but how can you kill them all? And is that even desirable? I have ants "farming" aphids on my artichokes. Usually, I blast bugs with the hose, but I can't get enough water into the artichoke leaves, so I just joke about the extra protein. Apparently, there is one huge group of Argentine ants ranging from San Diego to the Oregon border. I don't think I can do much about that.

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