Snow in July? No, it's diatomaceous earth on the potatoes
Yup, we're at the potatoes again. In our unending quest to avoid the bread lines (if they ever happen), GardenSnob is trying another remedy for that despicable pest, the Colorado potato beetle. The vacuuming was a runaway success and we've vacuumed the Green Mountain potatoes three times now. But since vacuuming potato plants might not be practical for some people, we've decided to give this a try. Diatomaceous earth is made by crushing the fossilized skeletons of tiny aquatic organisms. This fine powder scratches the waxy outer shell of the insect causing death by dehydration. It is completely harmless to all animals, fish, birds or in food (be sure to use food grade, not the stuff they put in pool filters). It is also a chemical free alternative for the control of insects around the house and for worms & parasites in pets and livestock. GardenSnob staff applied the diatomaceous earth (available at Amazon) to the potato plants by putting the powder in an ordinary kitchen sieve and tapping it over the plants. It was just like sugaring a pound cake, easy and simple. Be sure to do this on a calm day, however, so you don't breathe it in and so it lands where intended. Results are mixed so far. The abrasive powder immediately distressed the little buggers but they are still out there munching! Perhaps it takes a few days for it to kill the bugs, or this just isn't the stuff for these slimy pests, or we have such an intense infestation that we must use both vacuuming and diatomateous earth, OR we are addicted to the Quick Fix! Oh, no! not that - after all, the single most important quality of a gardener is patience (not available at Amazon). We will continue monitoring and update as necessary . . .
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Posted by Mary Ellen at July 9, 2008 9:34 AM