I decided to start growing some alfalfa sprouts. I love sprouts in salads and on sandwiches so I gave it a go. I picked up some sprouting seeds at Vitamin Cottage, along with a jar (any jar would do) that had a lid with a screen. I have seen these screens sold separately before to fit a canning jar (like these ones). The fist day I put my seeds in the jar, rinsed and washed the seeds about 10 times, then I turned the jar on it’s side, set it on the countertop and covered it with a towel (seeds don’t like sun). On days 2-5 I rinsed out the seeds (which became sprouts) two times a day. I just poured water into the jar and dumped it back out. The screen kept everything i n the jar. Make sure your jar is well drained. Drenched seeds keep them from sprouting. Again, I always kept the jar on it’s side and always kept a towel over it. On day five I did one last rinse and dry and then I took the towel off and set them in the windowsill for several hours. They greened right up. I then used a ton and put the rest in the fridge. Don’t put wet sprouts in the fridge, make sure they dry first. That’s it, super easy.

Now, onto my herb garden update. Houston, we have a problem.

This just in: My basil plants have Aphids.

My first round of defense was to spray with watered down dish soap. I use the Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbena Dish Soap. That didn’t seem to help much. Although I might have been too gentle with my soaping, I didn’t douse them or anything. So my second line of defense has been to add more soap in the squirt bottle and to really give them a soaking. The aphids are hitting the underside of the leaves and are attacking with vigor the standard basil plant and are shying away from the “Windowsill Basil” variety that I have in there as well. My third line of defense has been to put the plants outside today. I hear (from the internet) that Aphids don’t like cold weather and it’s quite chilly today (plus I just gave them a dousing).

The other plants are doing divine. My sage is SUPER happy and I have harvested parsley, rosemary and oregano. All the plants have bounced back from harvest wonderfully. Now if I could just get my basil on board I would be happy. I know why basil is tricky…it’s because it’s so tasty :).

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Cooking, Gardening

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  1. Howdy lady! So glad you’re adventuring into gardening, one of my favorite topics šŸ˜‰ If the aphids come back (oh, they will come back!), try doing a bit harder blast of water–like with the spray bottle on it’s hardest-spraying setting.

    Aphids are so dumb that if they fall off the plant, they can’t figure out how to get back on. And if you do decide to go the insecticidal soap route, please do read the label–some “insecticidal soaps” are just like what you made with your dish-soap, and some have pesticides in them that I wouldn’t put on my food…

    Just wait, when it warms up, the lady bugs will come and you can set that basil outside–the lady bugs will have a feast and your aphids will be history.

    Miss you and your darling little girl who is not that little any more!!!

    šŸ™‚ Julie

  2. Okay, so the heavy dousing of soapy water and the cold seems to have worked. Now the poor little plant just needs to recover from the trauma!
    If they come back I will check out the insecticidal soap, and the Dr. Brown’s.
    Thanks so much for the tips. This gardening thing can be traumatic!

  3. Yumm, sprouts. The only thing I have used for Aphids is Safer brand insecticidal soap, and it works great. I think home remedies are even better, but maybe as a last resort you could try it! Ladybugs are natural aphid-eaters, but I guess you don’t want them buzzing around your place. That could get really interesting.

  4. I have used regular dish soap like Dawn in very, very, small amounts- like barely a 1/4 pump in a squirt bottle and it gets rid of aphids on contact. Of course you have to rinse the leaves very well when done, or else the sunlight can scorch them- not to mention you don’t want Dawn on your basil. I have usually only used this though with roses, not on herbs. So take it for what its worth.

    Or try your soap again and make sure you get the tops and the bottoms of the leaves. From my experience, you really have to soak the leaves to kill the aphids if it isn’t regular dish soap.

    Finally, I have read that another liquid soap, Dr. Brown’s works really really well, but I haven’t tried it myself.

    HTH- your sprouts look great!

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