Hardiness Zone: 5b
Dust Bunny HK from Denver, Colorado
A: Dust Bunny,
Although it's hard to say what is eating your plants, it sounds like you could have an aphid infestation. Start by trying to dislodge the pests from your seedlings using a light spray of water from either your garden hose or a sprayer on your kitchen sink. You can also try brushing the specks off by hand, but be sure to do it outside. If this doesn't work, try mixing up an insecticide using variations based on the following recipe:
Blend these ingredients thoroughly in the blender and strain out the pulp. Pour into a hand-held spray bottle and spray on your seedlings. This mixture is designed to work specifically on aphids, but it should also help keep other bugs at bay.
Regarding the 'bites' out of your leaves in your containers. We garden totally in pots and it sounds like you have a problem with vine weevils. You dont often actually see them, but they look like a very hard shelled beetle. You also have to watch out for the eggs which look like a large larvae as they eat the roots of your plants from the bottom up. Nasty little things. Im in the UK and I doubt if we have the same products to use on them. Go to a garden centre and ask and im sure they will give you the right stuff.
Just use some dish soap and warm water and wash the leaves, will clean off bugs and keep other s off, little soap bubbles around the base of the plant will help as well and nothing will hurt the plant
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