Potato Bugging with a Fresnel lens; something useful for the video game addicts to do

Sorry about the terrible camera work, I’ll do another one that better shows actually roasting those bugs. I was trying to aim the Fresnel lens and the camera at the same time. I need a second person working the camera.


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17 Responses to Potato Bugging with a Fresnel lens; something useful for the video game addicts to do

  1. HerewardMW says:

    This looks kind of labour intensive.

  2. Hereward Saxon says:

    Squishing them with fingers is much faster and you won’t be scorching the leaves. Be sure to turn over the leaves and look for and crush the orange egg masses. Up to one hundred feet of bushy row infested only with Colorados can be done efficiently by hand, but for a larger area, or if any flea beetles, leaf hoppers or borers are present, it would make sense to use a spinosad.

    • mindweapon says:

      Thanks for the info! I think there’s more than one species of pest insect on those taters. they don’t sell rotenone any more! So spinosad is what I should spray?

      • Razvan says:

        Check “The Organic Gardener Handbook of Natural Insects and Disease Control” of Barbara Ellis – it’s a great book. We made a concoct from bugs (maybe a cup of them)and three packs of cheapest tobacco. We also thrown in some wormwood. Ten liters of water and few days under the sun. Strained carefully using cheesecloth and sprayed throughly – including the leafs near the ground. Repeat after one week. We are checking every day and it looks OK. Used masks and glasses because the smell is horrible. Also there some insects that apparently eat those orange eggs.

        Another resource I like very much is http://www.vegetable-garden-guide.com/how-to-grow-potatoes.html

  3. Ryu says:

    That looks like it would take too long for each dead bug. Hey, nice red slippers! It’s like the Wizard of Oz.

    • mindweapon says:

      Orange crocs, so I don’t dirty up socks.

    • mindweapon says:

      Nah, once you got good at it they drop like flies. Also, even if it’s less efficient, it’s got value in giving employment to underemployed people like children and people with no skills. It’s kind of fun too, like a video game. But i was knocking out several bugs a minute when the sun was out. Over time it would probably average 4 or 5 bugs a minute.

      Did you catch my cardboard box potato hilling invention? THat’s the better invention though I only mentioned it in passing. Potato hilling is a pain in the neck; it’s real easy to bury or crussh your potato plants when you are trying to hill them. Putting a cardboard box over the plant and then sifting dirt carefully into the box around the plant provides the ideal hilling. After the video, I actually double box hilled one of the potato plants that was sticking up pretty high out of its box. I diverted a couple stems out the sides between the two boxes so the plant will get a little extra photosynthesis. But from my experience in doing this same sort of thing with a dryer drum, I should get perfectly formed and smooth potatoes in those boxes and very good yields per square foot.

      Hereward Saxon and I have an ongoing friendly debate about urban gardening versus mechanized farming. His point is that urban gardening techniques, while producing high yields per square foot, do not scale up to multiple acre farming.

      My counterpoint is that urban gardening techniques are less energy intensive and give people something to do rather than lay around playing video games. Also, if millions of people do backyard gardens with urban gardening techniques and carefully process and preserve their harvest to eat through the winter, this will add up to the production of multi-acre farms. Not all of them, but lots of them.

      Lastly, backyard gardening and urban gardening is a political statement. It is a NO! to non-white immigrant helot ag labor, NO! to high fructose corn syrup, and NO to 20 billion dollars a year in subsidies to agribusiness. And NO to Monsanto, because backyard gardeners and urban gardeners support non-GMO seed suppliers and anti-GoMO political movements. The best anti-GMO protest is growing your own garden, or patronizing the local farm stands.

  4. Stary Wylk says:

    I like the cardboard raised beds. So how do you do a cardboard fence?

  5. I’ve been using chicken wire planters with hay and dirt, and the setup has attracted at least one garter snake. I’ve noticed a hawk who likes to hang around, too. All of the vermin going after the produce probably attracted him.

    • mindweapon says:

      it’s probably a lot more than one. I’ve got lots of snakes. I’ve run into them eating toads and field mice. I even have a water snake in the pond out back, which I once saw eating a huge bullfrog.

  6. doomdigit says:

    The cardboard box bed is interesting. My brother and I usually do tires or boring old rows. I’d like to try the cardboard box method and see how it compares. It may interest you to know that we tried the wall o’ waters and saw that the red ones, do, in fact, work better. We made a strawberry fence last year, but sadly the strawberries did not survive winter. I’ll be posting about that when I get a chance. The downside to the fence is that it’s fairly expensive at around $100, excluding drip line, etc. We use it for lettuce now, and have been eating a lot of salad lately.

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