Saturday, June 14, 2008

A dry week

This has been a dry week, warm and sunny but lacking in rain, stressing the plants and causing me to water the seedlings. The rock ledge is close to the topsoil here, which makes the ground wetter when it rains a lot, and dryer when it doesn't, than deeper soil would. Added organic matter helps but only to a point. Meanwhile potato plants are about 16" above the hills and have begun to attract the striped colorado potato beetles, their only consistent pest. Left alone, the beetles will eat the leaves to shreds within a week or so. My two remedies are (1) to remove and kill the bugs, and (2) to dust the leaves with an organic compound called rotenone. The easiest way to remove and kill the bugs is to pick them off the leaves and squash them between thumb and forefinger, and that is what I do. Some drop them into a jar filled with kerosene, but then one must get rid of the bug-filled kerosene safely. Why bother? And so today I removed and killed about a dozen from my four rows of potato plants. I also hilled them for the third time. The Satina and Red Gold (early) got a good stand; the Rote Erstling pretty good; the usually reliable Kennebec poor. I also planted cucumber seeds in the garden with the potatoes today. This is a little bit later than usual for the cucumbers, but they should come in during August and September which is a good time for pickling. I have been eating salad out of the garden. Greens fresh picked and eaten immediately taste wonderful, sweet and flavorful, so much better than supermarket produce. The forecast for the next few days is for showers, so perhaps the dry weather pattern will break.

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