Amaral Farms, Author at Amaral Farm

How Do I Get Rid of Aphids on My Plants?

Aphids are a common problem for organic gardeners. These small pests cause damage to plants by sucking the juice out of them and injecting their own substances into the plant. They can be difficult to spot because they are tiny, but you may notice wilting leaves or yellowing foliage in their wake. If you have aphids in your garden, then it’s about time for some organic gardening pest control.

11 Smart Methods of Organic Gardening Pest Control

1. Recognize Signs of Aphid Infestations

First things first: you have to know when you’ve got aphids. So be on the lookout for wilted leaves and yellow foliage, both of which indicate that plants are being drained of nutrients they need.

If you see these signs, get a closer look at the plant to see if you can spot aphids on or around it. They should look like little, oval-shaped bugs that are clustered together on the leaves. If you see them, then you know that pest control is your next step.

2. Use Epsom Salt on the Aphids

Aphids aren’t big fans of Epsom salt, while plants are. So you can use this natural mineral to your advantage and eliminate the aphids without harming your plants. Just mix the salt with water, add it to a spray bottle, and spray the solution.

As a bonus, some say the salt will also help your plant by providing magnesium, which is a nutrient that plants need in order to thrive. So in reasonable doses, this may even help your plants grow.

3. Spray With Soapy Water

Another organic way to get rid of aphids is by spraying them with soapy water. Just mix soap, water, and vinegar in a spray bottle and shake it up to make an organic insecticide. Then, spray the mixture over all of your plants, paying extra attention to where you think aphids might be hiding. The soap works by “melting” down the aphid’s protective outer layer, leaving them vulnerable to predators and killing them in the process.

Just make sure you don’t spray your plants too much or it may end up hurting them instead of helping. Rather, try to focus on plants that seem to be the most infested with aphids. That way your plants can get relief from the aphids and you don’t have to worry about being heavy-handed with soap.

4. Get Natural Predators Like Ladybugs to Eat Them for You

One of the best organic gardening pest control methods is getting natural predators like ladybugs, lacewings, and other bugs that eat aphids. You can purchase organic, live ladybugs from your local garden center and release them around your plants. They’ll go to work and eat all of the aphids they can find.

This method is very effective, but it may take a little while for all of the aphids on your plant to be eaten up. So it may be a good idea to combine this tip with some of the others on this list.

5. Use an Organic Pesticide Like Peppermint Oil or Neem Oil

Something else you can do is use something like peppermint oil or neem oil. These are both natural substances and won’t hurt your plants. To use either one, just mix a few drops of the oil with water in a spray bottle and shake it up. Then, just spray the solution over your plants to get rid of the aphids.

The difference between these two is that peppermint oil is better at repelling aphids while neem oil is better at killing them. So, it’s a good idea to try using both of these methods so that you can get rid of the aphids and prevent them from coming back.

6. Put a Sticky Trap Near Your Plant and Wait for Aphids to Get Stuck in It

This is another great pest control method that’ll let you get rid of aphids without hurting your plants. All you need to do is put a sticky trap near your plant, wait for the aphids to get stuck in it, and then dispose of them. It’s that simple! Just be sure to replace the sticky trap every so often, because as it gets full of aphids, they’ll stop sticking to them.

7. Prune Away Infested Leaves From Plants

If you find aphids on your plants, you can try pruning away infested leaves from them. This will prevent them from spreading to other plant parts and is like cutting an infestation off at the source. Although this method is very effective, it should be treated as a last resort. After all, you can’t just prune your plants into nothingness.

8. Put Aluminum Foil Around the Base of Plants to Keep Aphids From Crawling up Them

A simple way to prevent aphids from climbing up is by putting aluminum foil around the base. They can’t really crawl up foil that easily, so they’ll be forced to go somewhere else. Plus, foil reflects the ultra-violet rays of the sun, which further repels aphids from nearing your plant. This is a great tactic that costs nothing, and you can just leave the foil on your plants as long as you want.

9. Try Using Garlic Spray

One of the most popular natural pest control methods is to use garlic spray. There are many recipes for this, but they’re all basically the same and simply require a combination of garlic and water. When you mix the two together, it creates a natural pesticide that repels aphids from your plants without hurting them.

You can either spray the garlic water on your plants or directly spray the aphids to deter or even kill them. Both are viable methods, so see which one works best for you.

10. Sprinkle Cayenne Pepper in Your Garden to Keep Aphids Away

Another great all-natural pest control method is to sprinkle cayenne pepper in your garden. Aphids don’t like the spice and will go away when they come in contact with it. Plus, cayenne pepper is safe for your plants, so you don’t have to worry about damaging them. All you need to do is buy a small bottle and walk around your garden and sprinkle it here and there.

Just be sure to reapply after a rainstorm, because the pepper will wash away.

11. Plant “Aphid-Repelling” Plants to Fend Off Bugs Naturally

If you want to get rid of aphids naturally, one option is to plant certain herbs near your house. Aphids can’t stand the strong scents these plants emit and will go somewhere else. You can choose from a wide variety of herbs, but some good ones are basil, lavender, chives, mint, and oregano. Not only are these great bug-repellants, but they’re also great for cooking, so you’ll have a lot of fresh herbs to use in your dishes.

As you can see, there are many organic gardening pest control tactics to get rid of aphids. Just by using a combination of the methods listed above, you can get rid of aphids without hurting your plants at all. Try a few of them out and see which one works best for you today.

Growing Heirloom Tomatoes in Southern Climates

Harvesting your own fruit and vegetables is one of the most rewarding parts of gardening. Many people opt for tomatoes because they are straightforward to grow, produce a large crop, and are easy to incorporate into a variety of meals. But the excessive heat and risk of blight can make growing heirloom tomatoes challenging in hot, Southern climates. Let’s examine how you can protect your plants and what varieties you might opt for to ensure success.

Growing Heirloom Tomatoes in the South

In general, growing tomatoes is fairly easy, and it should be possible in many different climates. However, hot or humid weather can make the process a bit more difficult. The two biggest problems you’ll face are excessive heat and blight, which is a disease that affects the growth of your plants. If you live in the South of the USA or another area of the world that is very warm in summer, you’ll have to protect your plants from these dangers.

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How to Freeze Green Beans From the Garden

Green beans are a wonderful option to grow in your garden, but if you want to freeze green beans, it’s important to avoid some common issues. In this article, we’re going to walk you through how to do it properly so you can enjoy your home-grown green beans year-round.

How to Freeze Green Beans From the Garden

If you’re wondering if it’s okay to freeze green beans while fresh, we’ve got good news for you. You absolutely can freeze them, and the process isn’t too complicated. They can last months in the freezer, so even when green bean season is over, you can still use your frozen green beans in a variety of stew, stir-fry, and casserole dishes.

1. Trim the Ends of the Green Beans

The first thing you’ll want to do is carefully wash the green beans with tap water. Cool water is best for this. You can chop the stems off of one green bean at a time, but it’s quicker and easier to line up the stems of a small handful, then use a sharp knife to carefully slice through the stems.

Some gardeners also prefer to chop off the tail ends of their green beans, but that’s a personal choice. Repeat this process until you’re done. As an additional note, there are some green bean varieties that have a fiber running along the pod. If your variety has this fiber string, it’s a good idea to remove it during this step.

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Can I Leave Tulip Bulbs in Pots After Flowering?

Tulips are some of the most colorful, versatile flowers you can have in your garden. These flowers come in dozens of varieties, require little maintenance compared to other plants, and bloom beautifully after you plant them. However, many people wonder if they can plant tulip bulbs in pots and keep them there or if they need to eventually replant tulips in the ground.

If you’re considering planting tulips, you will want to know the ins and outs of these flowers before beginning your planting process. Knowing all about tulips will ensure that your flowers stay healthy throughout the summer and live in the best possible conditions for them to thrive. Read on to learn more about the care and planting of tulips.

Planting Tulip Bulbs: Frequently Asked Questions

Tulips are relatively easy to grow compared to other popular flower varieties. However, they require a little bit of knowledge to perfect. Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions about planting tulip bulbs.

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Do You Plant Sunflower Seeds Pointed Up or Down?

Sunflowers are just about the epitome of sunshine and summertime. Bright and sunny, they seem to be smiling as they track the sun with their tall heads. Sunflowers are so easy to grow. Their is so much about Sunflowers to them, from creating privacy in the garden to enticing birds or providing a beautiful bouquet of cut flowers. Anyone can plant sunflower seeds and enjoy the benefits of this wonderful plant. We’ll tell you everything you need to know.

How To Plant Sunflower Seeds

Pointed Down

Sunflower seeds will sprout best if you plant them with the narrow pointed seed-end facing down. While it isn’t strictly necessary to do this, it does give the sunflowers the best possible start in life. And why wouldn’t we want to give them that? They’re going to repay us with beautiful blooms and nutritious seeds after all. The narrow end of the seed is where roots will emerge, so putting this end down saves the plant from having to right itself in the ground.

Place the sunflowers 1 to 2 inches deep, point-down, every 6 inches or so, and then cover them up. Make sure to keep them moist until they sprout. This should only take about a week. Once they have grown into handsome little seedlings, thin them out so that each plant is about 2 feet from its neighbor if you have planted giant sunflowers. If you are growing dwarf sunflowers, you can grow them closer, sometimes as close as 6 inches.

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What Do You Do With Amaryllis Bulbs After They Bloom?

Amaryllis are large, trumpet-shaped flowers that bring a punch of color to any home or garden. Gardeners typically start with amaryllis bulbs, which look similar to an onion, that then sprout long, thin leaves and the iconic blooms. Amaryllis flowers come in eye-catching colors, can be over twelve inches wide, and can last for over seven weeks! But after that first flower starts to fade, many will ask: what do you do with amaryllis after they bloom?

The Basics of Re-Blooming

Amaryllis thrives in an environment with a nine-month wet period and a three-month dry period. By mimicking this cycle, you can encourage your plant to re-bloom after a forced dry or dormant period. Removing all foliage prior to the dormant period allows the bulb to retain vital nutrients and energy stores. Most importantly for all plants, provide your amaryllis with all the water and fertilizer it needs while it is growing.

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Best Organic Fertilizers for 2021

Fertilizing your plants is as important as feeding yourself good wholesome foods. Fertilizer provides your plants with the nutrients they need to grow strong, look their best, produce more, and reduce risks of pest infestations. However, plants need more than food, just like us. We need water, plenty of sleep, and a comfortable home. Organic fertilizers give plants what they need by creating long-term soil and plant health, all without polluting the environment.

Why Organic Fertilizers?

Clean and Safe

Most store-bought fertilizers are not safe for humans or animals to consume. However, organic fertilizers are safer for your plants, and your local ecosystem. They are derived from plants, animals, and minerals. They do not contain the harmful chemicals, acids, or petrochemical-based materials that synthetic fertilizers do, which pollute local waterways and damage local ecosystems.

Better for Beginners

Organic plant foods are much more beginner-friendly than synthetic fertilizers because you don’t have to worry about accidentally using a little too much and harming your plants. Synthetic fertilizers are highly concentrated and can cause ‘fertilizer burn’ if applied too heavily. For someone who is just starting out and doesn’t know much about fertilizing, it is very easy to go overboard and damage plants. Even if you get it right, over time toxic buildup can occur.

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How Do You Prune Orchid Plants?

Orchids are essentially indoor plants. They might seem relatively easy to take care of but the pruning step of planting these fairly little plants is a bit technical. Great care is required while pruning them. Some of the simple steps could be followed, to make it a healthy plant inside your garden. So, grasp your scissors. I will tell you when you need to prune and how to do it perfectly. 


Pruning is necessary for your orchids, it keeps them fresh and healthy. It also provides you a chance to detect unfolding problems. Another important benefit of pruning is that you remove or cut the diseased tissue. This tissue may be the habitat of disease-causing fungi, bacteria, or viruses. The most important benefit of Orchid pruning is that more buds and flowers appear after pruning. 

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Flower Bulbs to Plant in Fall

Flowering bulbs are the plant most closely associated with Spring. Not sure of that statement? Easter is celebrated after the Spring equinox and the white lily is the traditional Easter flower. If your goal is to have a yard full of flowering bulbs in the Spring, you’ll need to get started in late fall. Where to get them? There are many places online where you can buy bulbing plants easy enough, some sites even specialize in bulbing plants alone. However if you have a bulbing flower, they generally propagate themselves quite easily. Taking them out of their pot and separating them out is an easy way to grow the number you have for next year. In a future blog we will discuss doing this and storing them for next year. For this blog we want to introduce you to a list of bulbs you might want to plant yourself.

Bluebells (Hyacinthoides spp.) 

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How Do You Grow Those Striking “Blue Daze” Flowers?

If you’ve ever seen the striking blue daze flowers, also known as Evolvulus glomeratus or dwarf morning glory, chances are you wanted some for your own garden, front yard, or house. These plants have a unique bright blue color. Not purple that looks blue, but true blue, which is actually quite rare in the flower world. This delightful evergreen shrub grows very low to the ground, making it perfect for covering sizeable areas.

Blue Daze Flowers: Evolvulus Glomeratus

These funnel-shaped, small blue flowers are about one inch in diameter, and the plant itself will grow about two or three feet in each direction and about one foot high. They also need full sun and are hardy enough to offer their amazingly blue blooms during the entire summer all the way to the first frost. They’re resilient, so they will thrive and flourish in areas that are maybe too dry or hot to grow anything else.

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