Friday, June 20, 2014

Potato Beetles, Residual Herbicide, and Blister Beetles

It's a 1-2-3 punch for this year's potato plants.  My poor potatoes.  They looked so beautiful when they first came up.  Then they seemed to be struggling.  They had curled leaves and were generally scraggly plants.  Then the Colorado Potato Beetle arrived.  The CPB laid eggs which hatched into pink slugs that tried to eat all the curled leaves.

I knew the curled leaves were not caused by the potato beetle so I did some searching and found that the curled leaves could be from a lack of water on the plants.  Well, okay.  But - we'd had plenty of rain and I'd watered when the rains didn't come.  So, it had to be something else.  It wasn't just affecting my potatoes though.  The tomatoes and the lamb's quarter weeds were also affected.  However, the corn seemed to be thriving.  More research.

And then I found the pictures that looked like my plants.  Herbicide damage.  I don't use herbicide in my garden because that's just folly.  But, the hay mingled with the composting sheep manure that we cleaned out of that barn had been treated with some kind of broad-leaf plant killer.

Now the blister beetles have arrived in the garden for this year.  The striped blister beetle usually arrives in a swarm, descends upon an unsuspecting plant (or twelve), and reeks total havoc.  They can strip a plant in less than 24 hours when it's a healthy plant.

My poor potatoes.
Purple Majesty Potatoes - early sprout

Red Pontiac Potatoes - looking good

herbicide damage

adult Colorado Potato Beetle

Colorado Potato Beetle Larva
Striped Blister Beetle

Purple Majesty Potatoes - now

Thursday, June 19, 2014

19 Jun 2014 - Farm Report

Got up early to go blackberry picking today but noticed the red sky just as dawn was breaking and decided to check the radar.  Yup, rain coming in.  Okay, so now what do I do?  It's sometimes very tough to change gears after having a plan for the day.

The animals are all fine.  The coos came for cubes.  The flies are still heavy.  Anyone know where to get dung beetles?  I've been seeing information on how dung beetles are good for a pasture - as long as you don't kill them off with wormer for your cattle.  Ugh.  We have moved so very far away from knowing how our micro-ecosystems work.  The dung beetles move the cow patties into the ground reducing the availability of crap the flies tend to breed in.  So dung beetles work as fly control.  Love it!  They also work as poop-er scoopers.  Tee hee.

Sunny and the baby chicks are doing great.  The babies and their feathers are so cute!  I just love how they are feathering out.  I may decide that the sussex/orpington cross is my favorite color.  I'll keep you posted on the temperament of the chicks.

It's a beautiful day, y'all!  Enjoy!