Canola oil for aphids

Nature is always a mystery to me.

I started some Bok Choy with the idea of having fall crops to enjoy during the cooler season.  So when the temperature shot to nearly 100-degrees shortly after they sprouted, I was a little shocked.

Aphids on Bok Choy

While barely two inches tall, they bolted and began setting out flowers and then seed pods.  Well, to make the best of the situation, I decided to let them go to produce seed for next spring.  Then, as luck would have it, it turned cool again, like the off-again, on-again spring and summer we’ve had this year.

So with the new greenhouse installed, I took the plants that were in pots and set them inside, thinking that they would do a little better with a more even temperature.  That left me with some in the garden and some inside the greenhouse.  That could be called hedging your bets.

But then we had to be out of town for nearly a week so I watered as well as I could and hoped that it wouldn’t end up hot and cook the plants with roots and all, especially those in the greenhouse.

Like I said, nature is a mystery.  The plants I left in the ground to grow on their own, were doing quite well, sprouting the little pods that bear the seeds for next spring’s crop.

But the plants that I set in the greenhouse attracted gobs of aphids.  Getting down close showed hundreds of the little vultures gobbling up all the vital plant nutrients that make the plant grow.

Inspection of the outdoor plants showed no aphids.  In fact, they look surprisingly healthy, with the unpredictable weather and lack of irrigation water.

The greenhouse had no other plants from which the aphids could migrate, but there they were.

I have an aversion to spraying poisons, especially around food plants, so decided to find something that would kill the aphids without causing contamination in the greenhouse.  Online I found a recipe for a solution made of 1 tablespoon of Canola oil, just a small amount of liquid soap and a quart of water, guaranteed to do the job.  The price was certainly right.  The only canola I could find was in a spray can, so that had to work.  Spraying into a tablespoon is an adventure all its own, but I finally had what I thought to be one tablespoon.

The directions said to thoroughly soak the plants.  I used a sprayer and sprayed the solution for two days.  Actually, they got sprayed several times during the day.  It seems that all the crawling things have gone now.  Gone to where–I don’t know.  But they are not on those Bok Choy Plants and that was the goal.

They also attack my wife’s roses, but she prefers to use poison.  I read that the canola oil kills aphids and it seems to have done that very well.  But now it makes me wonder what it does to the human digestive system?


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