Saturday, February 16, 2013

Whitefly culprit found--the poinsettia did it! Day 48

We're approaching day 48 of the Aerogarden Ultra garden. By the way, it's you're reading this on Feburary 16-18, 2013, Aerogarden has one of their best sales yet--use coupon code BOGO to get buy-one-get-one-free on everything in the store, whether you need new seed kits, new grow lights, or even a new Aerogarden Ultra (I tried it, and if you put two Aerogarden Ultras in your cart, you can get $125 off, effectively getting each for less than $190.

The whitefly problem continued unabated, to the point where I thought I was losing the battle. It was bizarre, because I would vacuum all the white flies off all the leaves, pick the leaves off that I saw eggs on, wipe off the leaves, shake the leaves to be sure I caught any stragglers and either vacuum them or watch them fly right into the whitefly traps.

But the next day, I would come back and see them again. It's the middle of winter, so even with the windows open, I don't see any flying through there.

Then, one day I was sitting in the living room and glanced at a poinsettia plant we'd gotten around Christmas (around the time the whitefly problem started). I noticed that a lot of the leaves were losing their color. Then, I finally put two and two together and flipped one of the leaves over. Sure enough, this is where the whiteflies were calling home base. There were lots of flies and lots of eggs. It was a shame, because this poinsettia plant was a beautiful, huge plant.

I checked the other houseplants and luckily it doesn't look like the whiteflies had a taste for them. They stayed away from the succulents, the bamboo, and even my geranium and orchids, I'm guessing because the leaves were hard on their teeth (or suckers, or whatever). They seemed to go for plants with thin leaves like the poinsettia (and sage).

It was difficult, but I ended up tossing the whole poinsettia plant and putting a fresh whitefly trap near where it was. Happily, that trap is clean, and I'm not noticing any new whiteflies on the Aerogarden. Crisis least until spring comes in a few weeks!

Lisa is starting to pick off fresh herbs from the Aerogarden and toss them into her cooking. Here's some grilled squid she made, with some thyme and sage from the garden.


The Aerogarden Ultra popped up another tip recently:

"After your harvest, lower the Lamp Hood to keep the lights 1 to 2 inches above the plants."

I actually had never done this before, but after following this advice, I noticed that my herb plants, which had started out strong but were looking a little weak after enduring the whitefly invasion (not so much damage from the whiteflies but from me vigorously shaking them every day), were now perking up again. 

In the meantime, the tomato plants are still looking strong. In fact, the first three flowers have appeared. I checked the water, and it turns out the basin was bone dry--I need to remind myself that these tomatoes are drinking up water at a huge pace now. 

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