Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:02 am
Location: Potosi, Missouri

Grub Worms

I need someone to stop me from going totally chemical crazy on the grub worms in my potatoe patch. They are eating my entire crop.

I am at a point ot where if I want to save any for long term storage I will have to dig them all now and eat the ones with bites. The only problem is they need to stay in the ground so that the skins will toughen a bit. Other wise I am taking a chance at them rottening in the cellar.

I know the Japanese beetle grubs work on a 3 year cycle with the second year being the worst for grubs. That means next year I will have a ton of beatles eating my foiliage. I will get rid of them this year if it kilss me.

Has anyone ever plowed potatoes only to cover them right back up?

My theory is: If I plow the potatoes (which will expose the grubs) and turn my chickens and turkeys loose on the grubs, then plow them back under for a couple of weeks that I may be able to save part for winter storage. Any thoughts?

By the way, my name is Joe. I have a small green house and about 1 acre of gardens. The potatoes in question are Pontiac Red and there is 600 feet worth of them.


Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3062
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:40 pm
Location: ohio

Welcome to the Helpful Gardener, Joe.

Here's the thing, if potatoes are exposed to the sunlight for too long, it will make green patches on them, which are not pleasant to eat. So if you do till, perhaps till on the sides of the potatoes.

Another option is Bt, it's a bacteria that you can spray on the ground and they are supposed to feed on the Japanese beetle grubs.

Good luck.

User avatar
Posts: 30580
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

Are you sure it's Japanese Beetle grubs eating your potatoes? I wasn't aware that they did that... My underground nemesis is wireworms.

Your idea -- I was wondering if the chickens and Turkeys! wouldn't scratch or peck the potatoes in their enthusiastic pursuit of the grubs. I've never had chickens or turkeys so I wouldn't know for sure. If this isn't a possible concern, maybe you could expose the grubs very late in the afternoon or just before dawn?

How do you "plow" potatoes without damaging the plants? In my little backyard garden, I don't use any power equipment, so I can't fathom. I HAVE exposed potatoes while robbing them and gently patted them back under cover....

The trouble is most of the organic solutions I know about, it's a little late in the season for since you're looking for immediate results. I don't know how long Bt organism takes to infect the grubs, though, so that may work. I think you need the soil to remain relatively moist though. Beneficial nematodes are applied while the soil is still cool.

I have resident moles that regularly visit my vegetable beds. I do think they help control grubs even if their favorite food is the abundant earthworms. I hardly ever see any, and certainly not in the vegetable beds -- usually under sod. I wish they did a better job with wireworms -- any I find in the soil, I put in the birdbath for the birds to find. :twisted:

:!: Oh wait! Maybe SPINOSAD? I don't know enough about the product. I hope someone else can shed some light.

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