When I was a boy, my family and I lived on a large farm in New Lowell. Onc of the things we grew were potatoes. I swore when I was an adult I would never, ever farm again! And certainly I would never grow potatoes.
As it happens, one of the things I planted first when we lived on the farm at RR # 1 Barrie we potatoes… acres of them. The soil was sandy and I knew potatoes would grow well there. Besides, I loved potatoes and there is nothing as good as those early little golden nugget ones that now cost and arm and a leg to buy.
In spring, I would purchase some seed potatoes from a farmer in Craighurst, rig up my tractor with a harrow I purchased from a local farm, and tilled and harrowed the land/ sand. It was quite an event – and Paula and Stacey and I would drop the potatoes in the furrows I had created in anticipation of a bumper crop. I remember when our little cousins Jason and Adam would come to visit and help us plant too – of course everyone wanted to ride the tractor- the “SS 15” (Simpson Sears 15 horse-power model).
The one problem I had was that everyone loved the potatoes – and some even loved the plants! The plant lovers, of course were the potato beetles. They would chew the young spring leaves and then the plant would die. I tried to keep them under control without using any pesticides or harmful spray – but squishing them between my fingers became rather gruesome as they aged – and well, there were just too many of them.
I used to subscribe to a magazine called, “Harrowsmith”. I read an article once that bugs had their own poisons in them and one of the remedies for potato bugs was to blend them up in a blender and spray them back onto the plants.
Well, Paula didn’t want me using her blender – so I bought myself a used one.
Stacey and I went out to the potato fields and harvested a jar full of bugs. I added some water, put the blender on fine chop and voila …. bug juice. I put the juice into my sprayer and wouldn’t you know it – the juice worked. Well, I think it worked.
Paula wasn’t very impressed when I told the tell of my bug juice to company as we dined on some early golden nuggets – but we all enjoyed mashed, baked, and boiled potatoes for the entire season. I guess I was one of the first “organic” farmers in Simcoe County – and made the best beetle juice this side of Lake Simcoe.