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11 June 2005
Step AWAY from the potatoes....

I'm a taking a little break from lawnmowing and gardening here in the house with a glass of iced tea. It's hot here again today - 88 degrees. We've just had a nice 15-minute dark cloud thundershower that brought us almost a half-inch of rain. We really needed it. My garden will really enjoy the moisture. Maybe we'll get a little more tonight. An all-day or a two-day gentle rain would be just the ticket, but we'll take what we can get.

Colorado Potato Beetle - adult, egg mass, larvae

Before I came in, I scouted my 3 rows of potatoes and discovered that the beetles are already in full swing. I spent 45 minutes removing egg masses and squashing adults. I've not seen any larvae yet, but lots of adults and eggs. The high numbers of bugs I'm seeing are most likely a direct result of the serious outbreak I had last year. The beetles got so far ahead of me that I actually resorted to a chemical assault, but still lost the battle. I was seriously outnumbered and outgunned. Ultimately, they denuded my red potato plants almost completely. Fortunately, the tubers were mostly developed already and I still had lots of bright, fresh potatoes to enjoy. But now, I've got a large population ready and waiting for my new young plants. Last year, I couldn't bring myself to squish a beetle with my bare fingers - too crunchy and gross. This year, I'm ready, I'm willing. I'm going to hunt 'em down, smoke 'em out, and I'm smashing every last one I can find...

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