Monday, July 6, 2009

What's New at the Farm? 7/01/09

It's still wet. Yeah, I know that's not new but I've got to say something. There isn't too much that's new. I've never seen in this wet and gloomy for such an extended amount of time this time of year. Hope we don't see it again for quite a while; a hundred years or so would be fine.

Although it's pretty wet out there, we're still out there working. Last week we finished a few small transplanting projects - had to do it by hand as we can't get any equipment into he field. Cucumbers and summer squash trials went in and got row covers. Fourteen hundred steel stakes went in along with twenty two thousand feet of wire for the tomato trials and breeding workshops. We started trellising tomatoes and will work on those this week. We should be able to get the first string on and continue pruning as needed before the long weekend.

The crops, like myself and everyone else, could use some sunshine and some heat. While they're not suffering they're not growing much either. Typically we would pull the row covers off the squash and pumpkins next week and put down a layer of mulch but I just don't know if the plants will be ready. The local farmer we buy hay from can't get into his fields to harvest our mulch and can't get any drying weather anyways. Well, there's not much we can do about it anyways.

This is perfect disease weather. By this I mean diseases really like this kind of weather. Wet, humid weather favors diseases because the plants never get a chance to dry out. As the rain drops hit the leaves the splash carries the diseases from one plant to the next. And so it goes down the row and throughout the field. In a normal year we can spray a protective spray to prevent the spread of most plant diseases, but this year we can't even set foot in the fields because it's so wet. As soon as it dries up we'll start spraying weekly. Time to start thinking about spraying the onions for thrips too - usually we start around the fourth of July.

Lots of row covers this year. We're pretty good at putting them down fast; the row cover crew is faster than the planting crew. We use row covers on all brassicas, peppers, eggplant, greens, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins and corn. They work well to protect our crops from cucumber and potato beetles, flea beetles and the crows and woodchucks. We used to spray considerable but now rely heavily on the use of row covers. Row covers can be reused if care is taken when removing them. Farm crew members often take some home for the own gardens once we pull them off here.

Until next week, stay dry.


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