Prairie Seed Piece
June 16, 2016
24 Issue 13
Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:
Plant Then Harvest.
Potato Harvest. Our thanks to customer Dr. Chad Perry of
Keller, Texas, for recently sharing this beautiful photo of his
mouth-watering garden harvest. Those potatoes are three great
Gold and Dark
Here in Maine, steady rains the last couple of
weeks has slowed down planting. However, we’re in the final
stretch now and early plantings are looking good.
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Prairie Family Farm
Click here for the
Wood Prairie Family Farm Home Page.
Eliot Coleman on Controlling Colorado Potato Beetles.
We recently had an exchange
with our friend and long-time seed potato customer Eliot Coleman of Four
down on the coast of Maine in Harborside. The topic was the
of temperate potato growers worldwide: the Colorado Potato Beetle
(CPB). CPB is the insect which has co-evolved for thousands
years with potatoes and relishes eating members of the deadly
Solanaceae (nightshade) family. Should anyone be surprised
is one tough adversary?
If your appitite is whetted, further discussion of
CPBs was a part of last winter’s Wood
Prairie Potato School Webinar #5 – “OK, My Potatoes Are Planted, Now
What Do I Do?”
If you have a minute, can I get a Potato Beetle consult? I may have
asked you some of this at Big Sur.
When do your
first adults appear? For us it is normally around June 15.
Yes, we first see them also about mid-June or a little later.
Have not yet seen a single one to date this year. Twenty
ago they used to emerge 1 month earlier. I have reason to believe the
systemic insecticide "Admire" has all but wiped out the early emergers.
When do you
When we used to use Bt
tenebrionsis ("Novador") we were taught to flag
10 plants with egg masses. Then when 30% of them hatched
Btt that evening. Then depending on how hot the next week
spray a second time in 7 days (if a real hot week maybe drop back to
4-5 days; if a real cool stretch, extend to maybe 10 days).
products do you use?
descending order of personal preference, here's what I would like to
use, have used, would use (last resort).
not meet USDA NOP requirements (because it contains an EPA Class 3
Inert) We have been unsuccessful getting the manufacturer to
re-formulate. Therefore, we have not this product used since 2001.
narrow spectrum targeted material: controls Colorado Potato Beetle
(CPB) and just one other beetle, period. Organic farmers in
Europe are allowed to use this formulation but we American organic
farmers are not. Btt
only controls small and medium larvae up to fourth
instar. Does not control large larvae or adults.
evening as sunlight speeds breakdown of material and CPBs will consume
a lethal dose overnight.
with active biological ingredient 'Spinosid.' Fast-acting and
controls all life stages of CPB invluding large larvae and adults.
but no longer OMRI-listed so seek organic certifier approval before use.
spraying, the parasitic fungus Beauvaria
Bassiana establishes itself in
the potato field. A single spore will colonize on a potato
and result in its death. In the cadaver of one CPB there will
a million spores which will then spread and re-populate throughout the
potato fields. Works best in cooler northern climates.
Neem oil formulation. Has some fungicial benefits as well as
insecticidal ability. Slow to achieve knock-down so be
and apply somewhat early.
broad spectrum - so used only as a last resort because of its high
ecological profile. We rarely use this material, and then
only to control early season occurrence of Potato Leaf Hoppers (PLH),
but it controls CPB during that usage.
Eliot: I am totally incompetent
with sprayers so I have been amusing myself experimenting with physical
Jim: Up until
25 years ago we used diaphragm-style Solo Backpack Sprayers which is doable on your
scale. Get two units and two-buddies can do the job in half
A 12-volt boom-style 20-Gallon Tank home-made sprayer unit rigged on on
a balanced high-clearance bicycle-tired hand-pulled cart might be worth
Here's a concept
to get you inspired.
I have a backpack vacuum cleaner with a narrow nozzle that is very
effective on the adults when they start showing up. (I only have 1/4
acre of potatoes.) However, I miss some and when the first larvae
appear I need another technique. Is there any data on the use of
diatomaceous earth, Surround Clay, wood ash, etc. as an inert dust
pesticide for the larvae? We used basalt dust for that with reasonable
effectiveness when I was at the Coolidge Center back in the late 70s.
Twenty five years ago, local french fry maker McCain's invented a
tractor-power implement which would vacuum up CPBs and then fast
spinning knives would obliterate them back into the earth.
implement took a huge amount of power from a very big tractor because
of all the hydraulic motors. We have used diatamacous earth,
wood ash and Surround WP kaolin clay with unreliable results.
It can't hurt
but it doesn't give us the control we need.
We are now shifting the potato field from the vegetable areas on one
side of the farm to the other every other year (a distance of about
1000 feet) to make them harder to find. Is that worth it and is that
far enough to make a difference?
Yes, it's worth it. For twenty years (five potato-years in
four-year-rotation) in the year following growing potatoes on the home
simply rotating to the next field across the road (800 feet away) was
the only CPB control we needed. That record-run ended four
ago as the CPB pressure has now increased substantially. The
pendulum has swung back to the same high CPB pressure of the late
tops on the early variety we grow (Charlotte) go down around August
21. So last year we planted a late row from seed potatoes stored in the
fridge (started pre-sprouting July 1, sown July 21) along the edge of
the potato field on the side farthest from where the potato field would
be this year. We vacuumed adults off (a lot) till the tops on that row
were killed by frost. I wonder what percentage we prevented from
over-wintering? Any opinion? This spring I planted a row of seed
potatoes (that I had started sprouting extra early) along the opposite
edge of that field (the side closest to the direction towards where
this years potato field is located) and I have been dispatching the
earliest adults that have appeared there (this year starting June 1).
The belief is that half of a field's CPBs will seek winter shelter at
the base of the potato plant they feasted upon over the
The other half will migrate southward and westward and for the duration
of the winter burrow under forest cover and leaf duff -which in most
northern winters will not freeze to any extent.
there any data on the effectiveness of potato beetle trap crops? Thanks
for any light you can shine on all of this.
Potato School a dozen years ago university researchers from a cold
state (Minnesota?) reported on the following technique. On
south side of a field of potatoes they planted a very late crop of
potatoes (say two rows wide the length of the field).
They allowed these potatoes to grow all late summer and fall while they
killed down the regular fields. CPBs would migrate south to
on this fresh spud foliage. Once the weather turned plants
were killed by the cold
(November?) scientists covered the late crop of potatoes with a carpet
bales as insulation. Then in January they monitored the
and ahead of a predicted extreme-cold-spell, they peeled off the straw
bales allowing the cold to penetrate and freeze the ground and the
the scientists reporting the research were overly apologetic as to the
impracticality of their approach. However, their
research exposed CPB behavior and proved the concept was very effective
at decimating the over wintering CPB population. I felt they
nothing to be apologetic over and was grateful they performed this
research - and reported on it. To my mind, this is exactly
scientific investigation should be doing - extending our understanding
of how the world works so we can implement out of-the-box solutions.
Here For Wood Prairie Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.
Offer: FREE Organic Winter Rye Cover Crop Seed.
is recognized as perhaps the most winter
Typically, and most especially when
grown as a grain, Winter Rye is planted in the North from late Summer
through early October. As one goes further South, the
planting date can go later into the Fall.
What is not so widely known is
that Winter Rye can successfully be planted
anytime throughout the growing season as an excellent cover crop.
Spring-planted Winter Rye will not form grain heads but this presents
no problem for its use as a soil-saving cover crop. We
suggest you keep a sack of Winter Rye seed on hand. Then,
whenever a corner of the garden is harvested, Winter Rye can quickly
and easily be scattered-by-hand onto the plot.
We’ve always had
100% success with rugged Winter Rye in Maine. It reliably
establishes itself without even taking the time to rake it into the
soil. A 5-pound sack will plant 1000 square feet.
Stored properly, Winter
Rye seed remains viable for several years - so have a sack ahead to
have ready whenever it’s needed.
Cover crops are
excellent for protecting and building your soil. Take care of your soil and your
soil will take care of you!
Here’s your chance to recieve some FREE
Winter Rye seed. Earn yourself a FREE
Two-and –a -Half-Pound Sack of Organic Winter Rye Cover Crop Seed
(Value $9.95) when the amount of goods in your next order totals $39 or
more. FREE Two-and –a -Half-Pound
Sack of Organic Winter Rye Cover Crop Seed offer
Midnight Monday, June 20 so please hurry!
Please use Promo Code WPF491. Your order and FREE
Two-and –a -Half-Pound Sack of Organic Winter Rye Cover Crop Seed
must ship by 6/24/16. This offer may not be combined with other offers.
Please call or click today!
Call us Wood Prairie Family Farm at (207) 429 - 9765.
Here for Our Wood Prairie Organic Cover Crop Section.
Organic Winter Rye. Despite its name, Winter Rye can be
grown in any season.
Not all potatoes are equal when it comes to roasting - or boiling.
|Want to Try
Growing Organic Seed?
Have you ever wanted to try saving some of your
own seed? It’s not hard. First, so the seed will
come back true, start with open-pollinated seed – all the seed we sell here at Wood
Prairie Family Farm is open-pollinated and Certified Organic.
Second, learn and respect established isolation distances from similar
varieties to be able to maintain genetic purity.
Two excellent books which will help you learn seed
saving basics are Seed
to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth and The
Organic Seed Grower by Maine’s Dr John Navazio.
Now, a new free
six-part webinar series, Organic
Seed Production will be presented monthly by our
friends at Organic Seed Alliance. The first webinar is next
week on June 21 so - if interested - please register now.
Jim & Megan
Here for our Wood Prairie Organic Vegetable Seed.
|Notable Quote: Jane Goodall on Making a
|Recipe: Rose Petal
4 c Wood
Prairie Organic Rolled Oats
1 1/2 c walnut halves
1/2 tsp Wood
Prairie Sea Salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
2/3 c dried currants
dried petals from a dozen or so small roses
1/2 c unsalted butter
1/2 c honey
1 egg white (optional)
Preheat oven to 300 F degrees with racks in the top and bottom thirds
of the oven. Set out two rimmed baking sheets.
the oats, walnuts, salt, pepper, currants and half of the rose petals
in a large mixing bowl. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over low
heat and stir in the honey. When thoroughly combined, pour the honey
mixture over the oat mixture and stir until everything is well coated.
If you like clumpier granola, stir in the egg white. Divide the mixture
equally between the two baking sheets and spread into a thin layer.
stirring a couple time along the way, for about 20 - 30 minutes, or
until the granola is toasty and deeply golden. Remove from
oven and press down on the granola with a metal spatula - you'll get
more clumps this way. Let cool and sprinkle with remaining dried rose
petals. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Makes about 7 cups.
Photo by Angela Wotton.
& Megan Gerritsen
Prairie Family Farm
429 - 9765
Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm