Wednesday, July 2, 2014
The Arch-Enemy Returns
Dang potato beetles. Granted, because I grow my potatoes in garbage cans, I typically have much lighter infestations than the years I've grown potatoes in the ground. Sometimes, I escape entirely--but not this year.
My current theory is that they are migrating over to escape my neighbors' Sevin-laced sad potato patch. I mean, wouldn't you rather eat a nice, healthy, organically grown potato leaf, instead of a nasty, fouled by chemicals, sickly growth? I know I would.
Rather than breaking out the chemical warfare, I plan to utilize my tried-and-true approach: Discover & Squish. It's gross, and I wear gloves and an apron, but it is vaguely satisfying to pluck the little boogers off the leaves and smush them into oblivion. I also smush any eggs I happen to find unhatched. It isn't perfect--there's always some I miss--but it keeps their population in check and allows my potatoes to grow up to perfection. I also find that having healthy plants means that I don't have to worry too much about any beetles. The plants tend to grow new green leaves and compensate for the beetle damage. It may not work that way in the larger garden, but in the containers, that's the way its worked in my experience.
I still find them disgusting, though. Squishy, nasty things. Ugh!