Potato patch news!

It’s been a while since I wrote about my experimental potato patch, so I thought it might be a good idea to bring the state of the patch up to date.

Unfortunately, that state isn’t all that good. Locally, Japanese beetles have become something of a plague. For those of you who are not familiar with this particular pest, the Japanese beetle is a ¼ to ½ inch long, iridescent eating machine. It will eat practically anything and usually does. In my case, it started with the usual late-season infestation of my berries. I don’t mind their predations that much when it comes to my berries, as I always end up having all I need and enough extra that I am always giving them away to almost anyone I know even vaguely. What I wasn’t counting on was their finding an appetite for the leaves of my potato plants. At this point those of you who garden with chemicals will be saying “Oh, if that’s the case, why not just grab the sprayer and hit them with some ________” with the blank filled in with the name of their favorite bug spray. I, on the other hand, am an organic gardener, so the ‘super-duper, knock’em dead’ bug spray is not an option. I’ve been experimenting with different solutions to the problem, but to date, none have been a screaming success. That, in turn, means that some of my potato plants have been nearly denuded, leaves eaten to little more than a token of surface area.

So I guess here the second experiment will come into play, one that I hadn’t thought I’d have to undertake: can a patch of potatoes survive a heavy attack from Japanese beetles? More to the point, can they survive and produce a crop worth harvesting? I’m not sure, but so far none of them have shown signs of dying (knocking wood very hard), so I am at least slightly hopeful. The next few weeks should tell the tale, though, as if they’re going to die off, the hot and humid ‘dog-days’ of summer will be the most likely time for that to happen.

Further news as it becomes available……..

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