Donny checks the tomato plants every day. He waters them, makes sure the leaves are growing above the ladder rungs and if they're not he trains them to.
He is also on the lookout for aphids. Last season we had a bountiful amount of fruit, but just as many leaves covered in the green slimy suckers. Aphids can not only prevent your fruit from growing, but it can quickly kill your plant. Next to rodents and lack of sun, aphids are a burden to all gardeners.
Donny learned from the head gardener at our local nursery, that when you find aphids you can clip the leaves and put them in a plastic bag. These leaves should go in your trash and not in your compost, which risks infesting all future fertilizer.
And last night, Donny found that the aphids had returned, so he made an emergency run to Anawaltfor a container full of adorable little red ladybugs. The directions advise you to present the ladybugs in colder weather and that if you do not have aphids, the ladybugs will just leave. If the aphids have taken over, then the ladybugs will sit on the leaves and eat the slimy suckers.
Ladybugs are a great non-toxic option to chemical repellents. It also doesn't hurt that they are pretty adorable to look at and see roaming around your garden. They definitely can't hurt your plants, so I suggest giving them a try.
All photos featured here - by Donny Martino Jr.