But occasionally I have to resort to sterner measures like using organic sprays or one containing a specific form of bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis) which is toxic only to leaf eating caterpillars. If I didn't do this there wouldn't be a cabbage plant left in the garden - and I confess that sometimes I grit my teeth and squash.
This is all well and good and this year things have been going along fruitfully in the veggie patch - until yesterday when I went out to get some spring onions and silverbeet to make a pot of soup for our lunch. The silverbeet was fine and I picked a big bunch but I noticed as I was heading to the spring onion bed that the red onion seedlings I planted a few weeks ago had been pretty much wiped out. Odd, I thought, but things like that happen in gardening - and then I discovered the probable reason why. More than half the spring onions were smothered in black aphids. These nasty wee beasties can devastate a garden in a very short time so I reluctantly decided on the squashing approach after pulling out the worst affected then hosed the remainder - and, although I couldn't see any problems with them, the rest of the onion tribe - with a blast of water.
This morning there was only a light scattering of aphids on the spring onions but they had - courtesy of some resident ants whose nest I haven't been able to track down - spread to the rest of the onions. So I squashed and hosed the spring onions - the red onion bed is too big to deal with by hand so my fingers are crossed that hosing will be enough. It probably would have been even better if yesterday I hadn't forgotten that chives are part of the onion family, too, because when I checked them they were literally seething with the little blighters to the point that when I hosed them the water came off like a grey soup. That lot of greedy little invaders is now buried never to rise again and I hope the chives will survive
So that's the situation at the moment and I guess I'll be battling aphids for a few more days until the ladybirds build up sufficient numbers to help control them.