Colorado Potatoe Beetle

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Old 08-15-00, 10:56 PM
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I have a lot of Colorado Potatoe Beetles in my garden and was wondering about Companion Planting to get rid of this pest. Can any one tell me what to plant next year to avoid having these bugs next year. Also how do I plant for companion planting. Do I plant the companion plants on each side of every row or just all around the potatoe plants? Do these bugs attack any other vegetable plants?
 
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Old 08-16-00, 05:34 AM
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Aren't these little guys fun - aaargh! To answer your questions point by point my reference library and experience show the following:

1 - Companian planting: Flax, horseradish, garlic, marigold, and green beans can be intercropped as repellent plants. These can also be a real pain. Horseradish needs root containment, green beans are fragile plants and most are just plain in the way of taking care of the potatoes. You will need to plant a row of one then a row of potatoes or just intersperse the plants among the potato plants.

2 - The Colorado Potato Beetle also attacks eggplant, tomato, pepper, and petunia.

Major organic growers have discovered the following: The CPB tends to attack stressed plants. Eliott Coleman has discovered that mulching heavily with straw just after potato plant emergence reduced the problem by 90% or more. The plants are stressed both by too warm a soil and fluctuating soil moisture. Mulch controls both of these factors.

The CPB winters over in the soil & emerges from the soil as temperatures warm and seeks out the plants to lay its eggs. The first line of defense is destroy the yellow egg clusters on the underside of the leaf and pick off and kill all adults as soon as they appear.

There is a spray "bacillus thuringiensis var. San Diego" that is highly effective against the beetle larvae. BT/San Diego is available in garden centers. It is sometimes found under the trade names - Dipel, Thuricide and Biotrol. It is safe for humans but has a devastating effect on CPB larvae. It is used by organic growers on vegies and fruit to control corn earworm, cabbage worm, cabbage looper, etc. (see label).

I had almost total control by using mulch and BT. The BT is a real plus.

If you are interested in organic growing may I suggest the following books: Step by Step Organic Vegetable Gardening by Shepherd Ogden; Four-Season Harvest and The New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman; plus The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch. All of these have excellent cultural information.
 
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