Dateline: 7 June 2014
|My Kennebeck potato plants, after the first hilling.|
(click picture for a closer view)
The potatoes have grown very nicely. I sprayed the leaves with a seaweed foliar application when they were a couple inches high, and they responded remarkably well. That was a first for me. I think I'll continue to do the foliar feeding, which is recommended by Wood Prairie Farm in These Instructions.
I did have some "skips" in my rows. Maybe a dozen. The potato seed pieces rotted instead of growing. But I dug them out and replanted with some seed pieces I had saved.
By now, in previous years, I would have had Colorado Potato Beetles laying eggs on my potato plants. But it isn't happening. I've seen only two adult beetles in my garden. One wasn't even near the potatoes. And I've not found a single beetle egg. This is an amazing mystery to me.
I don’t know how long it will last, and I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but I’m sure enjoying the fact that there are no Colorado Potato Beetles destroying my potato plants… yet.
If (when) they eventually show, I'm ready for them. I bought some Bulls-Eye Bioinsecticide. I've never used the product before but my friend Steve Lonsky has used it for years, and he says it works great. And I think it's organic-approved.
|Kale and Romaine in my garden|
The mystery of the missing Potato Beetles is not the only good insect conundrum in my garden. The usual flea beetles are missing too. I don't think I have ever grown kale in the spring and not had the plants savaged by flea beetles. But I have a whole row of Dwarf Blue Kale that is growing beautifully, and there is not a flea beetle in sight.
Unfortunately, my green beans have not done well at all, but it isn't because of insect damage. I planted three rows of beans, they sprouted nicely, then the fledgling sprouts turned brown and most of them died. This has been a recurring problem in my garden for years. I think it is some sort of a virus. It's discouraging. Does anyone have any advice for me about this bean problem?
I have a theory about why the flea beetles are not destroying my kale this year. Maybe it explains why there are no potato beetles too. No, I did not slather my whole garden with pesticide. I've never used a bug spray in my garden in well over 20 years. I'll present my theory in an upcoming blog post.
Meanwhile, I'll not only continue to patrol my potato rows looking for potato beetles, I'll be watching to see if bugs attack my young squash and cucumber plants. If they don't, that will be even more amazing.