Typhoon Season

Here we are in the middle of October going on our 3rd or 4th typhoon already.  The last one started in Okinawa and plowed through Japan like a wrecking ball.  It cancelled trains, flights, and schools, recorded record rainfalls, downed electricity poles and trees, caused landslides resulting in deaths, flooding, threatened to hit the Fukushima plant again, and overall just threw a wrench in everyone’s daily lives.  Today there is another typhoon warning off the coast of Japan yet again.  This one has the added delight of having a partner typhoon not too far away.  So if both typhoons converge they have the ingredients for a pretty big typhoon!  Of course these typhoons have no regard for peoples free time and come promptly on Halloween weekend!  But a little rain and wind I’m sure won’t stop the festivities.

It has been raining since Thursday and doesn’t look like its stopping until Sunday but if I were a weather man I would predict substantially colder temperatures on the backend of this typhoon and possibly some snow!  Winter looks to be upon us early this year!  It already snowed for the first time this year on the backend of the last typhoon so with my weatherman skills I’m predicting snow again!!  God this weather is completely different from San Diego!

Japan sees its fair share of typhoons every year but most are pretty mild.  However this last typhoon delivered an upper cut to Japan and was one of the strongest typhoons in the last ten years some newscasters have reported!  For me typhoons equal the house whistling and shaking, days of school, and the garden gets a free watering so typhoons are OK in my book as long as our old house holds up!!

Are ladybugs really good for your plants?

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I would like to start this article by saying this is based on my personal experience here in Japan dealing with ladybugs in and out of greenhouses particularly concerning potatoes and tomatoes.
My ladybug battles start around the middle of June.  We plant our potatoes here in Japan around the middle of May when the snow has melted away and the soil is starting to warm up a little.  By the middle of June the potatoes are knee high and have already flowered attracting all sorts of insects.  Ladybugs are late on the scene but come in swarms.  I presume they come to munch on the aphids and small insects that are on the potatoes but once they have decimated all other insects they chow down on the potato leaves.  I don’t really concern myself with that because once the beginning of July hits it becomes hot and humid and the potatoes are pretty much ready to harvest anyway.  Now here is where the problem begins.
Tomatoes are planted beginning of June and once potatoes are harvested in early July the ladybugs source of food is gone leaving a hungry swarm looking for its next meal.  This year my tomatoes where planted right next to the potatoes but my rotation puts them different places every year with the same result.  The ladybugs just hop over to the blossoming tomatoes and chow down on any other insects in the vicinity.  Good right!  However the sheer numbers of ladybugs far outweighs any other insects and soon their hunger takes them again to the foliage.  These ladybugs take a perfectly healthy plant and can munch half of it down within days!  Holes in the leaves appear then it turns brown and wilts.  Thankfully I put quite a bit of nutrients into the soil and my tomatoes explode once it gets hot, feeding the hungry swarm and still manage to produce normally but I don’t know what’s going on!
It could be the type of ladybug, the wet, humid weather, disease, soil, my inexperience, who knows how many other factors but I’m pretty sure these ladybugs are doing more harm than good to my garden.  I have always thought that the ladybugs presence was good and beneficial to the garden but here and now I am changing my mind.
Any comments or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

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