My father told me a story this week about the Victory Garden his family had tended during WWII. The garden was in the vacant lot – with permission from the landowner – across the street from their home. They grew potatoes, pole beans, and “some other stuff.” His recollection is that most of the garden was taken up by the potatoes, but there was a problem in the form of potato beetles, which were both abundant and voracious.
My father and his older brother, who were a little younger than 10 years of age at the time, had a job each day. They went across the street with two small blocks of wood each, and they used those blocks of wood to smash potato beetles. Each boy was required to clear a whole row of potatoes each day.
Apparently, I need to add some small blocks of wood to my tool bucket, for use at the garden/farm where my little family has spent some time smashing potato beetles. We have been flipping the beetles off the leaves onto a nearby hard surface, then smashing them with rocks, but bringing the hard surface to the beetles, in the form of a block of wood, makes a lot of sense.