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Try this soapy trick to get rid of aphids

It is February 1, as I write this, and it is a beautiful day, although still cold, but things are beginning to show definite signs of life.

It is February 1, as I write this, and it is a beautiful day, although still cold, but things are beginning to show definite signs of life.

No blooms on the crocus as yet, but some colour showing on the yellow ones. Inside, I have a pot of purple ones that are actually blooming, but it’s not really fair as they are in a bright window right above the baseboard heat.

This morning I finally planted the 20 crocus bulbs that have been sitting on the kitchen counter in about a half inch of water, rooting. These I’ve put in five four-inch pots to be given to Pene for her long planter, but I’ll wait until they show green shoots before giving them to her. I promised the bulbs to her at Christmas time, but having no car they didn’t get delivered.

I made a mess today of course, trying to mix fresh soil, coconut fibre (the replacement for peat moss) and pots of already used earth, and finally planted the bulbs. At the same time I potted up the rooted mini-daffodils. I know I’m way behind in getting this done, but bulbs have a way of catching up to those planted earlier (I hope I’m right). They got watered from the bottom, using a large plastic dishpan, sitting in the sink. Luckily no one came to visit and caught me in such a mess, but, hurrah, the job is now done.

It’s been a worry for a week, and a source of guilt, so now I can relax and wait for things to show up. I’m going to keep these newly planted ones inside until there are green bits peeking above the soil, and then put them outside when it’s little warmer.

There was a call this week about aphids on African violets. Actually I’ve never seen such a thing, and could find no information in any of my books, however in thinking about it, and discussing it with Joan M. who is very knowledgeable, we decided that brushing off the leaves with a small toothbrush, both top and underneath would get rid of adult aphids, and if a new lot appeared that my caller should swish the plant gently through a pan of soapy water (1/2 teaspoon of liquid dish soap in a couple of litres of tepid water) then leave it to stand on the draining board for about two minutes before washing the soapy water off (top and bottom) under a gentle stream of tepid water. (Spread your fingers around the violet to hold the soil in the pot while you have it upside down). If your African violet succumbs to this rather drastic treatment, call the police! I’ll go peacefully, and just think — a new suit (striped) and your meals provided!

The oranges on my orange tree (shrub) are turning gold, and are getting large enough that one branch had to be propped up before it broke off. When the oranges are ripe I’ll get a tin of “Ma Made” and add my thinly sliced mini-oranges to the mixture for added taste. I’ve done it before and actually it didn’t seem to make much difference, but it made me feel good.

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