We spent a good hour picking aphids today. Our friends recommended an easy aphid control method: they wrap a piece of tape around their fingers and run it across the leaves and stems. All the aphids stick to the tape, even the miniscule, nearly invisible babies.
This method has already made aphid population control much, much more effective. We went through 7 or 8 rolls of tape and inspected almost every leaf on our 5 plants. It's amazing how quickly aphids can multiply. I've sprayed with neem oil a couple times this season, but it's not as effective as I'd like. They tend to be as numerous as ever within 4 days. With all the rain we've been having, I'd have to spray with neem 2-3X a week to keep the aphids at bay.
Of course, where there are aphids, there are ladybugs. I haven't seen any adults yet, but I did find two pupae today. One on the dianthus, and one on the ground cherry. I wish I had some of my own baby mantises, like the ones I saw in Red Hook. Between them and the ladybugs, we'd have even less work to do.