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Monday, July 4, 2011

Spud Dud

Wow, talk about Epic Failure.

Over the past couple of months, I've given periodic updates on the potato patch I helped a buddy put in his back yard.  The last pix [link] were of big, luscious potato plants sucking in the sunshine, and preparing for a veritable spud-a-palooza.

Uhm, not so much, anymore.

About a month ago, I dropped by to check on the crop, as my friend had said that the plants were getting pretty tall.  I dropped by to see if it was time to perhaps start mounding some of the plants to increase the yield.

The plants looked generally healthy, but I noted that a number of them were getting chewed on by something.  Not horrible, but something certainly liked the taste of the 'tater leaves.

I told my buddy he should get some sort of spray to knock down whatever was munching on the plants.  It seemed that whatever it was also liked a number of his other plants.

He was stuck on doing his plants organically.  No commercial pesticides.

He now has a full garden of stubs.  Not a leaf to be found.

My guess is that it was a massive earwig infestation.  When I gathered up some radishes, there were TONS of earwigs in the ground.  According to Wikipedia, potato plants are one of the plants they like.

We're considering doing a late crop, but I'm not too enthusiastic.  The earwigs (or whatever) are still there, and I don't feel like feeding another batch of bugs!

My younger son works for a company that sprays Line-X on bedliners.  Great stuff.  It protects the bedliners from dents and dings, and generally prolongs the life of the truck.  They do a number of commercial applications as well, such as construction cranes and ship decks.

They have a business divisions that also does security applications, mainly for the government.  It seems that this stuff is great for reducing or eliminating the impact of bullets and bombs.

Go Here to see a video of this stuff in action.  Pretty impressive.

The site says that the stuff is approved for private buildings, so I guess that could include a private retreat or other similar building.  I know nothing about the cost or the practicality, but it caught my attention.

BTW, a national TV show is doing a story/demonstration of this stuff.  That's all I'm going to say, as I went to their website, and they had yet to announce the show.

My son did some of the application and was there during the shooting of the episode.  When it is announced, I'll give you a heads-up on when it will be aired.  Sounds very cool...

A quickee update on my bout with Bell's Palsy - 17 days after the "attack" - or whatever it's called - I got a small bit of movement in my left cheek.  Each day, it progressed where I was getting a little bit more movement.

Last week, I had an appointment with a neurologist, and he all but threw me out of his office (after looking me over).  He said that I was progressing nicely - actually a bit ahead of expected results.

I've now ALMOST got my full smile back, my forehead is almost fully wrinkled when I lift both eyes, my speech is totally back to normal, my ears both wiggle, and I can flare my left nostril about half as much as my right nostril.  About the only thing I can't yet do is whistle.  My left lips just don't pucker quite as tightly as the right side.

He said he sees no reason I shouldn't have a complete recovery.  Yeah, baby!

This past weekend, I taught my first Introductory pistol class since this happened, and it went flawlessly.  I was worried I might have a bit of "tongue tripping" as I haven't done 4 straight hours of talking since just before this happened.

No problem!

Copyright 2011 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Andrea said...

That's a real shame, about your friend's taters. He had options, even organic ones, that would have been quite effective. Wood ash, neem oil, vegetable oil infused with crushed garlic, and rhubarb leaf tea are all fairly effective at killing/deterring bugs.

In a pinch, like during soy bean seasons when the Japanese beetles are so devestating, we use a single application of Sevin dust and that normally does the trick for the entire season.

Glad you're recovering, by the way :)

Terrie said...

So glad to hear your on the mend...sorry bout the spuds.Its been so hot and dry here in Texas its playing havoc on the gardens..not enough water even when you water..then all the animals are hungry and eating out of it too.

Chief Instructor said...

Andrea, thanks for the tips. Are those things applied "topically" to the plant itself and/or the ground, or is it dug into the dirt?

Terrie, our problem at first was too much water. We had tons of rain right after the spuds were planted. Everything normalized, and they grew, and then got all eaten up!

Thanks to both of you for the recovery notes. BTW, I whistled today! Patience, patience, patience... ;-)

Andrea said...

Chief-You apply all that stuff topically. The wood ash and Sevin dust you just sprinkle on the foliage.

The rhubarb leaves are toxic, so you steep a handful of them in water for a few days and then strain it and spray it onto the affected plant. You have to reapply after each rain.

For the oil and garlic, you steep the garlic in the oil for a few days then add a couple tablespoons of the oil to water and spray. I don't know the exact measurements, but I'm sure you can find them on google. You can also use oil + mild dishsoap with the same results.

Chief Instructor said...

Andrea, much thanks. The only one of your suggestions I had ever heard about was the dish soap deal. I had suggested that to him, but he didn't do it.

No suds, no spuds.... (sorry!)

Andrea said...

Tell your friend to check into diatomaceous (sp?) earth and essential oil sprays before next year. Both of them are supposed to be effective, although I've never tried them first hand.

Mrs. Chief Instructor said...

Hey Chief,

I am very happy those lips can pucker now!

Andrea said...