Potato farmers have long faced devastating losses due to worms like the Colorado potato beetle (CPB).
The fall armyworm, which feeds on potatoes, can cause destruction to yields that can be in the millions of dollars in lost crops. Farmers have tried to manage this infestation in the past with insecticides or crop rotation; however, these methods are not always effective or desirable. Now, potato farmers have turned to companions plants to help battle the devastating threat of the CPB.
What is a Companion Plant?
Companion planting is an agricultural technique used to enhance crop production and pest control by planting two species of different plants close together. plants typically chosen are those that are known to attract beneficial insects, repel pests, or improve the soil. By planting two crops together, it creates a strong ecological system with many advantages. This form of gardening is also beneficial to the environment, as it avoids the use of harsh chemicals or pesticides.
Benefits of Companion Planting
There are many benefits to companion planting, such as improved nutrition and soil fertility, improved pollination, and pest control. By combining plants in this manner, the combined crop is more resistant to pests and disease, as the beneficial bacteria and fungi in the soil are nurtured by the partnered plants. This also encourages biodiversity, which helps keep a balanced ecosystem.
Potato Farmers and Companion Planting
Potato farmers are beginning to understand the power of companion planting to help fight the CPB. By combining potatoes with certain companion plants, farmers can not only reduce their use of chemical insecticides but also reduce their losses due to the falling armyworm. Companion plants such as buckwheat, Potato Vinegar and Mustard Greens are being planted alongside potatoes to help repel the CPB and enhance the soil around the potato crop.
Why Buckwheat is an Excellent Companion Plant
Buckwheat is an excellent companion plant for potatoes, as it is known to deter the CPB. It is a fast-growing crop and can quickly smother smaller weeds. Buckwheat is also known to attract beneficial insects, such as the ground beetle, which has been known to feed on the CPB larvae. It also improves the soil fertility, as the plant’s decomposing leaves add organic matter to the soil. In addition, buckwheat is also known to suppress fungal diseases, making it helpful in avoiding a number of potato-related illnesses.
Potato Vinegar and Mustard for CPB Prevention
Potato vinegar and mustard are two more plants that are helping potato farmers win the fight against the CPB. Potato Vinegar, a perennial vine, is a powerful deterrent and has properties that help repel the CPB. Mustard is also a beneficial companion plant for potatoes, as it is known to secrete a gas that deters and kills CPB larvae.
Potato farmers have long been struggling to combat the CPB, but with the introduction of companion planting, they have a new weapon in their fight. With the help of plants like buckwheat, potato vinegar, and mustard, farmers are finding success in battling the devastating damage caused by the CPB and fall armyworm. By understanding the power of companion planting, potato farmers can find a safer and more effective way to protect their crop.