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Soil and Composting: Composting aphid-ridden greens?

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tucsonjill
Lincoln, NE
(Zone 5a)

March 10, 2009
1:49 AM

Post #6245039

I knew the unseasonably warm weather had caused all my spring greens to bolt awfully early this year, but what I didn't know until I got out there to cut them down was that I had a big-time aphid infestation out there as well. Now, being a thrifty gardener, I hate the thought of letting all that biomass go to waste--I'd really love to throw it all into my composter and turn it back into good stuff. However, I'm wondering if composting all those aphids will cause me more problems on down the line.

Anyone ever dumped aphid-ridden greens into a composter, and lived to tell the tale?

Thanks for any help!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 10, 2009
2:11 PM

Post #6246672

Here's my theory, but don't quote me...If the composter heats up your stuff, no worries. If the aphids don't die, they're gonna mature into whatever they become and crawl off to find another crop -- no worries. If the heat doesn't kill them in the composter, they'll probably die anyway and either become part of the decomp, or food for something else that probably crawled into your composter.

Time heals all wounds, and kills off most of what we worry about...
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

March 10, 2009
4:47 PM

Post #6247360

I had aphid-infested greens last fall, too. My solution was to microwave the cuttings for about 30 seconds to kill the aphids. After that, everything went into the compost bin.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 10, 2009
4:54 PM

Post #6247406

PUddlePirate,
As soon as I posted I had that EXACT same thought!!!!!! GMTA!
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

March 10, 2009
5:57 PM

Post #6247644

It's gratifying to see the little b******s explode!

Kylaluaz

Kylaluaz
Richmond, VA
(Zone 7a)

March 10, 2009
6:08 PM

Post #6247693

*snort*
shuggins
Houston, TX
(Zone 9b)

March 10, 2009
7:56 PM

Post #6248126

I have to say that my DH would skin me if alive if he caught me using the microwave to explode bugs before I compost stuff! Guess I will just have to make sure he isn't home. LOL!
tucsonjill
Lincoln, NE
(Zone 5a)

March 10, 2009
8:13 PM

Post #6248200

Well, as much as I would love the joy of watching bugs explode in the m-wave, I've got too much to stuff in there so I guess that option's out (not to mention, my DH is one of those who would not approve, and my kids would probably take it as license for them to m-wave anything that struck their fancy as well).

I think I'll try stuffing some in (the less-infected parts) and probably just trash the less. Better than nothing, I guess!

Thanks for the help!

Kylaluaz

Kylaluaz
Richmond, VA
(Zone 7a)

March 10, 2009
8:15 PM

Post #6248207

personally I would just compost the lot of it. I don't think aphids would survive composting.

Also, mwaves are pretty cheap at thrift stores and the like, for those with squeemish relatives getting a "garden" mwave might be a good solution.

just a thot.
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

March 11, 2009
12:25 AM

Post #6249270

Try putting the greens in a bucket and pouring boiling water over them. Same result, and no chemicals needed.
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

March 11, 2009
7:17 PM

Post #6252433

I just picked some damaged leaves from my turnips. There were aphids on the older leaves, not an infestation but quite a few. There were also dozens of lady bugs, lady bug larvae and lady bug eggs. I relocated the lady bugs and larvae and tore off the leaf parts with eggs and placed those back in the row.
I composted the leaves. I've always done it this way and never had a problem. I hope any lady bugs I missed can crawl out of the compost pile before they cook!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 12, 2009
2:54 PM

Post #6255933

Calalily,
Could you possibly post a pic of what Ladybug eggs and larvae look like? I'd hate to destroy these benies!
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

March 12, 2009
3:55 PM

Post #6256254

Ladybug eggs: http://images.google.com/images?q=ladybug+eggs&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=MzC5SaXBDMH7tgf3ioGuBg&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&resnum=1&ct=title

Ladybug larvae: http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&um=1&q=ladybug+larvae&btnG=Search+Images

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

March 13, 2009
2:42 PM

Post #6260922

ok, I just wasted 15 minutes searching for Youtube of the Reno 911 microwave bit, and couldn't find it- you're all on your own

I would compost it all too and not worry. Or seal in in a bucket a few days till it gets all stinky and kills the aphids. Maybe drown them. I guess I figure the aphids seem to come out of nowhere and they will anyway even if I try to kill my latest batch.
bonjon
Raleigh, NC

March 18, 2009
8:17 PM

Post #6286205

thanks everyone. I just learned a lot today. I need an old microwave - darn that I gave our old one away last year.

and several ways to cleanse my trimmings to ease my mind.

we had an infestation of aphids come into the garden as in a shipment of irises from pacific northwest. sad to say because the grower insisted it couldn't happen to his plants! but there they were, very very much like a few photos here of ladybug eggs, only smaller, some the same colors, some were more purple-ish. I've never had a problem before but boy did they go all over my gardens.

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