Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What's New at the Farm - 08/27/2008

New Water Line, Anthracnose on Melons and Fall Weather

First I would like to say that this is Susie Anderson writing this week's column, not Brian. I am not near as eloquent as Brian so bear with me while I give the low down from the farm. Next I'll say that I'm flattered that he asked me to write the column. I have looked forward to reading this column every week during my first season here and I am proud to be able to contribute. Thank you, Brian.

A new well was dug near the back of the barn and Rob and Janica's house. This line will feed greenhouses #1 and #2, as well as Rob and Janica's house. The spigot between the shade house and the gourd house will stay in use for those houses as well as the inflation buster and act as back up for #1 and #2 greenhouses should anything happen with that well.

Kelly Martin, our Assistant Farm Manager, received results from Bruce Watt at the Pest Management Office that we indeed have anthracnose on the melon trial again this year. She is thinking about next season's crop and what actions to take to quell this disease.

Anthracnose is caused by the fungus Glomerella lagenarium (Colletotrichum orbiculare). The lesions begin as water-soaked areas becoming brown, roughly circular, about ¼ to a ½ inch. The disease has distinct pinkish spore clusters in moist weather. It depends upon wet, humid weather to spread. The recent stagnant weather pattern that has given us many inches of rain and many, many days of humid weather has not helped our melon trial. Anthracnose can be seed-borne so it is imperative to have clean seed. Getting seed that has been produced in an arid region will help keep diseased-infected seed to a minimum. Crop rotation and minimizing overhead irrigation is very important, as well.

The chilly nights have begun. But will they stick around? I think we'll have a few more scorchers before all is said and done but I plan to enjoy these colder nighttime temperatures for now. With this change in weather the farm is preparing for harvest time. Lisa Robbins is readying the breeding tomatoes. Potatoes and onions are being weeded and lots of cover crops going in the ground. Jeff Young is busy finishing the last elements of the water line installation and fixing/maintaining machinery left and right! Tizian, Elisa, and Mike B. are ridding the farm of more weeds by spraying Matratec AG. Clove oil is in the air! Hoop house cucumber harvest is finished and vines are being removed. A fall determinate tomato trial is in the inflation buster, battened down from these cooler temps.

The farm here at Johnny's is beautiful this late August, 2008, with the flowers and herbs looking lovely, the tomatoes ripening, and fresh soil turned for burgeoning cover crops to sprout. Thanks to all and we'll talk next week!

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