Leah Hampshire |

The Risk You Take When You Add Outside Plants to Your Rise Garden

The Risk You Take When You Add Outside Plants to Your Rise Garden

We all make mistakes. It is part of life. This past spring, not long after setting up my first Rise Garden, I made the mistake of bringing in a plant from outside without inspecting it. I bought a strawberry plant from a local farm. This plant had been outside, dug up, put into a gardening container, and placed for sale at a farmer’s market. I bought one, happy to have a great-looking, mature plant to place in my yard. 

I got home from the farmers’ market and realized I didn’t know exactly where to put my strawberry patch, so I decided to place this small strawberry plant on my Rise Garden while I thought about where to put it.

Fast forward a few days and I notice something about the strawberry plant. It had these little green bugs on it. I looked them up online. They appear to be aphids. Fast forward a few more days and I find aphids on my Rise Garden plants. I try to squish them. I scour the internet and the Rise Garden Facebook Group looking for ideas to get rid of them: Neem oil; lady bugs; and rinse young plants with water. Okay, I can do this. I will easily combat these tiny little bugs. 

I search for lady bugs in my outdoor garden to no avail. Yes, I can buy them on Amazon, but do I really want a huge number of lady bugs from Amazon? Not really. 

I decide to combat the aphids with hard work. I buy fans. I take smaller plants out of my garden and rinse them under water and I spend each morning shaking my plants and pretending to be a ladybug by squishing them with my finger. I finally start spraying my plants with Neem oil. 

I have had days where I feel hopeful. But, aphids are stubborn little critters. Once you are infested with aphids, it's very hard to control them. Finally, in August, I decided enough is enough. I simply cannot keep up. Nothing is working well enough to combat this tiny green bug.     

By the first week of September, I finally gave up. I harvested my last bounty, threw away all of the plants, and filled up the kitchen sink with a combination of bleach and vinegar water. I spent a few hours rinsing and washing all the components of my Rise Garden and the wall around it (those bugs are everywhere!). I took apart all of the tubing for a very deep clean, and then I wiped down every surface of my Rise Garden. The garden will now sit, empty, for the next two weeks to make sure I don’t have any little critters alive or hatching or reproducing. 

And, then I will start over. I love our Rise Garden. Today was a lot of work; it was sad and frustrating, but I know better now. I'm sharing this lesson to keep you from making the same mistake. 

Trust me, I will never put a plant that was outside on or near my indoor Rise Garden. I learned a valuable lesson: Mother Nature is stronger than me and must be respected—and outdoor plants must be kept away from my hydroponic garden. 

Happy Gardening.

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