Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Potato Patch Tour

My potato bed is about 3 or 4 feet wide by about 30 feet long. Let's take a walk through it, shall we? It has more bugs and activity right now than any other part of my garden. Most of it is bad bug activity but as the plants are doing well and the potatoes themselves are underground, I hand pick the pests and don't spray. Oh, I did spray Neem Oil once.

This is a flea beetle and the bane of my existence. In my garden it attacks mostly the potatoes and creates lace from the leaves. It also attacks seedlings. I don't have chard (yet) this year because these little buggers eat it before it can get established.

Usually if a plant can get well established the flea beetle does more cosmetic damage than anything else. If it gets your new seedlings, though, it can eat them to the ground in no time. Neem Oil is an organic control.

This is wormwood. I have my potato bed broken into thirds, with wormwood planted in the two breaks. Wormwood is supposed to repel flea beetles. I had flea beetles before I could set out the wormwood, though, so the flea beetles are laughing at me. They have a huge head start. I remain hopeful.

The infamous Colorado Potato Beetle. I hate it that he's a bad guy, because he's so beautiful. These two went into a plastic ice cream "bucket" with about an inch of water and a drop of Dawn dishwashing liquid in it. Without the soap, the beetles can climb out of the water and get away. Use the soap!

Colorado Potato Beetles lay their bright yellow eggs in clusters on the underside of the leaves.

The Colorado Potato Beetle larva is a plump juicy little guy. He goes into the bucket too, or if I don't have my soapy water handy he gets squished between two leaves and his guts get left as a warning to others.

There's lots more going on in the potato patch, but this is enough for now.



At 7:48 PM, Blogger Floridacracker said...

Wormwood? You sure it's not "beetlenip"?

At 9:48 PM, Anonymous pablo said...

I should look at the underside of leaves more often.

At 2:12 PM, Blogger Leslie said...

FC, no joke. *sigh*

Pablo, I wouldn't have looked except one of the leaves had flipped over (wind?) and there was this big bright yellow splotch. I don't have nearly the keen eye that Bev does.

At 4:27 PM, Blogger Leslie Shelor said...

I never knew anyone else that could make garden pests so interesting!

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Leslie said...

Leslie, thanks. I think I'm interested because of a "know thy enemy" mentality. I'm glad you found it interesting as well.


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