Mary's Veggie Garden

June 1, 2011

What’s Bugging My Garden? Colorado Potato Beetles and Beet Leafminers

Filed under: Beet Leafminer,Beets,Colorado Potato Beetle,Gardening,Insects,Pests,Potatoes,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 11:34 am

Colorado Potato Beetle

Colorado Potato Beetle eggs on the back side of a potato leaf. The eggs are always on the back of the leaves.

May 25 I found a Colorado Potato beetle on a potato plant at my Vassar Farm plot. A quick inspection of the underside of the leaves revealed a cluster of bright orange-yellow eggs. May 31 I found 3 adult beetles in the potato patch and my inspection turned up 6 – 8 clusters of eggs. The adults move slowly and are easy to catch and crush against a rock. The eggs are soft and easy to crush against the leaf, though you might want to wear disposable gloves for the job.

Colorado Potato Beetle larvae are dome-shaped like the adults

Each egg cluster contains numerous eggs – I counted around 25 eggs in the photo. If you don’t find all the clusters, there will be lots of larvae, and they mess up the plants quickly.

It looks like this will be a bad year for Colorado Potato beetles. I don’t recall seeing a single adult last year and I found very few eggs. This year the beetles are out early and in force.

Beet Leafminer - the circled bump is the miner inside the leaf.

In early May Beet Leafminers attacked my beet greens. The tiny white eggs are laid in 2-4 egg clusters on the back of the leaves and are very difficult to see. After hatching the larva chews into the leaf and then lives and feeds between the top and bottom surfaces of the leaf. Often the first sign of an infestation is the dead area of the leaf where the larva tunneled. The most recent damage looks watery instead of dry, and the larva will be at the end of the watery area. Pinch the larva between thumb & index finger to prevent further damage. It is not necessary to remove the leaf.

If you cannot find the larva, it has probably left the leaf, to hide in the soil while it pupates into its adult form, a small fly.

December 22, 2010

‘Twas the Night…

Filed under: Gardening,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 8:40 pm

‘Twas the night before September, when outside the house
Many creatures were stirring, not just a mouse;
The garden was fenced all ‘round with care,
In hopes that deer would never come there;
My daughter was nestled all snug in her bed,
While replays of band practice ran through her head;
My husband was sleeping, and hoped for much more,
As I settled down for a short summer snore.
When out in the yard there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
But saw nothing on the deck; what was that crash?
Then off to the kitchen to flip on the lights,
To better reveal the outermost sights.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But an eight pointed buck: a powerful male deer!
His head, it was lowered; his mouth, it was red,
He looked mean and angry, a monster to dread.
When he moved I saw a most terrible sight,
His antler was tangled in the fence very tight.
I ran for my husband, to wake him from sleep,
He groggily blinked, then from the bed he did leap.
We dashed to the doorway, but the buck, he was gone,
One glimpse of my motion made him quite strong.
We surveyed the garden with the help of a light,
What destruction was done before the buck’s flight?
Alas! My poor garden, damage lay all around,
Two heavy steel fence posts he’d bent to the ground.
The ruin was total in two veggie beds:
Stalks twisted and broken, big leaves lay in shreds.
We pushed the posts upright, unsnarled all the net,
As we patched the fence up, we felt it was wet.
Shining flashlight on hands revealed blood on our fingers,
But it was not ours: could deer blood still linger?
Sunshine the next morning revealed all of the damage,
Plus an antler tip broken in the buck’s desperate rampage.
The rabbits and woodchuck say “Thanks Mr. Buck!
You’ve opened the garden, it’s our great luck!
We’re feasting on beet greens, parsley and chard,
To fatten for winter is no longer hard.”
We wish you happy holidays, filled with warmth and good cheer,
And may your next growing season have gardens without deer.

Folks: I couldn’t make this one up; the poem describes exactly what happened. I believe the buck was grazing on fallen apples from my neighbor’s tree when, in the dark, his antlers tangled in my fence netting. They were velvety, still soft and growing, so when he broke a tip trying to escape, there was blood all over. At 2:00AM I was outside, stringing up twine and drenching it with Liquid Fence, hoping to keep the rest of his herd from testing my jury-rigged fence. And it paid off, the jury-rigged fence kept out the deer, but not the rabbits.
Acknowledgments: Thanks to Clement Clarke Moore and his “The Night Before Christmas” for the shape of this poem and for lines 9-11 which fit so well that I couldn’t resist using them verbatim.

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