Aphids, The Watercannon Approach

My broad beans this year have been rather poor. I'm not sure why, I think I sowed them early enough, in pots and planted out in timely manner. They seem to have been occupying their bed forever, and I really do need the room for winter brassicas, which are getting severely overcrowded in their nursery quarters. Maybe it's the dry weather, maybe the variety, it's Masterpiece Green Longpod, not one I've grown before, and I certainly won't be bothering again! I will probably go back to Bunyard's Exhibition, if anyone has recommendations I'd be grateful to hear what has worked well for you.
One of the things broad beans often seem to fall prey to is blackfly.And mine is worse this year because they've been so slow to mature. 
 I don't use insecticides** in the garden, so in a case like this, which I admit I have let get a bit out of hand, I use the water cannon approach. That is supporting the plant stem in your left hand, the hose pipe in your right and using a medium strong spray, (don't go mad and blast the leaves off) you can remove most of the aphids quite easily. It will take a few minutes to do a row of plants, and although the aphids will gradually come back and you'll have to do it again in a week or two, it does get rid of most of the little devils ok, and your insect and bird population will thank you for it. I do the same with roses if I find outbreaks of green aphids that sometimes infest the flower buds. But generally speaking, a healthy insect population means that aphids are not normally much of a problem for me.

**I noted yesterday that we have once again, a wasp nest in the roof space, which sadly may have to be chemically removed if the wasps start to raid my beehives as they did last year, will have to see how it goes.


  1. It is hard when you consider your self organic to have to use a chemical...sometimes you just have to for the greater good. We use strong soapy water in a spray bottle to kill wasp...a strong dish soap like Dawn...it usually will so the trick because the soap suffocates the wasp. Be careful of it around your tender plants because it can sometimes burn the leaves. This method is not really organic...but it not insecticide !

  2. Good advice about the aphid problem. Do you have any Helpful Hints in regards to a little insect which chews loads of little holes in my cabbage plants? As for your broad beans: perhaps it is the weather. None of my haricot came up, and when speaking to a farmer friend, he said that none of his commercial crop had come up as well. It was the way the weather has been, apparently. Good luck with the wasps. I would protect my bee hives at all cost, but since they are still in the house and devoid of any occupants, that is not a problem for us at this time!

  3. What a good idea that water cannon approach is. I try to use as few chemicals as possible on my flowers and that would really help.

  4. I also use the water cannon approach and it seems to work most of the time. I have to admit it has been less successful on my apple trees this year. Diane

  5. I will try the water cannon approach, if that doesn't work... well, the plants are hardly surviving anyway....

  6. I use a washing up liquid solution on my roses (ecover washing liquid) and it worked wonders for keeping away the aphids :-)

  7. To Scented Sweetpeas - yes, washing up liquid will deal with aphids, it will also kill all the ladybirds, their larvae and anything else useful in the vicinty.

  8. I've struggled growing Masterpiece Green Longpod too. First I thought it was just me, then the soil, this year I've planted the last of the seeds. A couple of the plants are growing the others are a poor show. Time to move on to another variety I think.

    I do the same as Scented Sweetpeas and use an ecofriendly washing liquid solution for the aphids, used it a lot last year on the tomatoes too. I specifically targeted where the aphids were.

  9. There's always something to thwart gardening. I make a soapy spray with cayenne pepper ..

  10. Thanks for the tips Melodie

    Hello Vera holes in brassica leaves are always the result of cabbage white butterfly activity in my garden. You can cover your plants with mesh to keep them off, or just pick off the offending individuals as soon as you see them.

    Hope it works for you Louise

    Hi Diane, yes, I also found it less effective on fruit trees

    Good luck Sharon

    Thanks for the tips Scented Sweetpeas

    That's useful info Beth thanks

    Hi Mangocheeks, glad to know it's not just me then

    Hello Mrs Mac Indeed there always is!


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