why i don’t spray

I wrote a post awhile back about potato bugs.

It’s a lot of work to squash them.  Mostly because it’s gross.

We tended to do it as a regular job each time we were near the potatoes, but only after we had finished whatever other garden work we had come to do.  That means we were already hot and sweaty and tired by the time we went hunting potato bugs.  Up and down the rows, look for suspect raggedy edges, watch for eggs, watch for new hatches, catch the adults when they drop onto the ground.  It wasn’t the most fun garden work.

But it payed off.  There are no more potato bugs now.

The plants are draping over the rows, suppressing (most) weed growth.  They are lush and green, with just the slightest hint of decline beginning to show, which is exciting because it makes us think there will be potatoes soon.  And there is nary a potato beetle in sight.

Sweet goodness.  What a wonderful thing.

But here’s the real pay-off:

A couple nights ago the kids and I were on the hill, picking sugar snap peas and pulling more and more and more weeds.  The sun went sinking behind the hill and I was still finishing with the peas.

Then the light show began.  Swarms of fireflies lifted out of the corn and potatoes and hovered at knee height, flashing in some strange syncopated rhythm, like a wave of stars across the field.  Literally, they were bumping against my legs as I walked down the row.  It was amazing to be standing among them.  We watched as they slowly rose, blinking their special star-language, ever upward.

We noticed them, along with the pretty ladybugs, on those hot days as we pinched the potato bugs.  They hide under the garden leaves during the day, and they always seems a little shy to me when I find them.  I try to give them space, pretend I don’t see them.  They seem much more comfortable with themselves in the night.

It would have been much easier to spray something on the potatoes to wipe out the bugs, but whatever killed potato bugs would also kill fireflies.

If we had sprayed, we wouldn’t have known what we were missing.

But now we do.

And that’s why I don’t spray.


i don’t have a camera capable of capturing those lights. this picture was found on the following site, which i encourage you to visit: http://twistedsifter.com/2014/01/long-exposure-photos-of-fireflies-at-night-tsuneaki-hiramatsu/ and used with gratitude.

For fascinating firefly information, check this out:




6 thoughts on “why i don’t spray

    • yes. there are volumes-full of reasons not to use poisons. this was one of those moments that just brought it into crystal-clear focus.

  1. I spent last weekend backpacking in the Smokey Mountains watching the synchronized fireflies for hours. Quite a site!

  2. Once again I am envious of the life you have. Although we have a small farm it is still very much suburbia, complete with a mosquito truck that sprays poison in the summer. We have no fireflies, dragonflies, butterflies, crickets or grasshoppers and it makes me so angry. The spray doesn’t do much and the essential oil combo I spray on my family and animals works perfectly. The poisoning is unnecessary and yet despite phone calls and begging, there is nothing I can do about it. Thanks for letting me vent and thank you for being the kind of people that take the time to deal with farm life without poisons.

    • thank you deidre.  i feel your pain.  it can be so frustrating when tide seems to be flowing away from common sense and sanity.  we just all have to do the best we can.  take good care…


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