This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Some of the European entomologists are amusing themselves with pelting Prof. Riley, because he cautioned them to look sharp after the potato beetle. This is what Dr. Candeze, of Liege, says at the Entomological Congress in Brussels, in October last. Speaking of Prof. Riley's paper, he says :
"There is apparently no doubt there was an increase in the price of potatoes at St. Louis during 1873; but the author himself, in his pamphlet, attributes it as much to suppression of culture as to the ravages of Doryphora - many farmers, he says, not daring to plant potatoes.
Let us hope that St. Louis is the town in which Mr. Riley resides and publishes his articles.
" Certainly the Minister for the Interior would be very much surprised if the publications of his department, by frightening the farmers without reason, produced the same result here next season.
" Another fault we find with this pamphlet is that of extolling, for the destruction of the Doryphora, an agent of which the handling is most dangerous. Every one knows the grave accidents caused by Paris green to those who breathe the dust; one is warned with just reason against its employment in industrial arts. Medical men have warmly discountenanced its usage in the ornamentation of carpets and cloth. It is not then without surprise that we find it advised to powder the fields of potatoes with it broadcast, leaving its management in hundreds of inexperienced hands.
"It is a case in which the remedy is worse than the evil. Mr. Riley assures us as a fact that arsenite of copper decomposes, and is not noxious once that it is deposited on the earth. But before that ? He says that its judicious employment has no inconveniences. We are not of his opinion; and can we reckon on the judicious prudence of a farmer's boy, to whom would be left, in most cases, the care of arseni-cating the potato fields?"
All this reads very funny to us over here, who appreciate fully the value of Professor Riley's labors. The logic of the critic is wonderful. It was not the Doryphora which made potatoes scarce in 1873, but the dread of the Doryphora by the planters! In Dr. Candeze's eyes this is a great difference.
The tirade against Paris green is as funny as the rest. There is little doubt but the watch set on the Dorypora through Prof. Riley's cautions will save them a year or two's crop at any rate, which ought to be worth some milllions of francs, and well worth the expense of the few thousand pamphlets distributed by European governments. But they will be very foolish if they conclude to accept Candeze's advice and throw over Riley's, and look on"the remedy (Paris green) as worse than the disease." Still it will be our sain if they do. If Dr. C. were a "bull" in the potato market he could not send potatoes higher for our interest. Riley's advice is at least for their good and not ours.