Or: the Trials and Tribulations of an Uptown Girl with a Boyfriend from Old Europe

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Location: Basel, Switzerland

Friday, June 01, 2007

Vampires Are Alive!

They'll probably never star in any horror movies, but as far as I'm concerned, aphids are evil, evil monsters. Called Blattläuse in German - leaf lice, which is very appropriate given their green but otherwise tiny, lice-like bodies - these sap-suckers have killed my cilantro.

Admittedly, I could be written up on charges of plant neglect, given that I first spotted the creatures about two weeks ago. Even if I hadn't been keeping a close eye on the plant, which was already looking a bit strung out and not terribly healthy, the aphids would've been difficult not to notice. They seemed to emerge from nowhere to swarm my cilantro. Once infected, the plant's stems looked like they'd sprouted boils all over.

I did have good intentions, though. I first thought to go to Obi for some insecticide, though the idea of using the herb for cooking afterward put me off a bit. Then I remembered an offhand comment from Swissy Pie, about some nettles I'd stepped in because I didn't recognize them as such. (They didn't look like the kind I was used to in the States.) Apparently some people boil the leaves and use the liquid to kill aphids. But that was not a very specific formua, and besides, I was a bit wary about picking a plant that had given me a rather unpleasant rash on both calves. So in the end, I just tried to wash off the little buggers, which only worked for a couple of days.

Oddly, the basil and parsley plants right next to the cilantro have remained untouched; the rosemary and thyme don't seem to appeal to them either. Hopefully things will stay that way.

Not that it'll matter too much. We're headed for the United States today, and by the time Swissy Pie gets back in a week, the herbs will probably all be dead, anyway - unless there's a good bit of rain in Basel in the meantime.

As long as we're not greeted by singing, leather-clad Blattläuse...

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