Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Watching the Potatoes

My friend Renee Michelle once told me some advice she said came from her mother: that you can't get your floor clean unless you get right down there and scrub it.  Curious, I knelt down on my floor one day with a sponge and a mop, Cinderella-style, and tried it.  Yugh!  I'd thought my mop was doing a wonderful job, but upon closer inspection the floor was actually really dirty!

Potato plants -see the barely noticeable yellowing on that bottom middle leaf?
Little potato flower buds
Garden plants are kind of like that, too; if you don't kneel down and look at it real close, everything might seem fine.  By the time you notice the problem from standing height, it is because the plant is suffering, and it is probably too late to do much.  Having learned this lesson the hard way many times, I try to make it a policy to look closely at all my plants on a regular basis.  (It also helps that I bring a very short person with me every time.)  Right now I'm watching the potatoes very closely because I think it was about this time last year that I failed to notice early signs of potato beetles eating them and possibly infecting them with...something.  (See Potato Problem.)  I have squashed two adult beetles so far, and spotted just a bit of damage.  I also found a moderately large egg mass.

Fortunately, I think this year's plants have a jump start on the bugs.  I noticed last week that several of the plants are starting to form flower buds, which they didn't have a chance to do last year.  I'm crossing my fingers for a serious spud harvest this year!

1 comment:

  1. I wish my husband (who cleans that house) believed that lesson too.

    I never thought about watching plants so carefully like that, but it makes a lot of sense.