Friday, August 7, 2009

What's New At The Farm? 8/05/09

The critters continue to elude us and are sampling the squash and pumpkins. I think squirrels are mostly to blame but we've also seen a few rats and some very fat woodchucks. When these guys have an entire smorgasbord of fruit to eat in the field, a trap with apples and peanut butter doesn't sound too appetizing. Jeff did manage to get a half-grown skunk this morning, but with 12 traps out daily we're not getting much activity. I've got some granular repellent coming so we'll see how that works to deter them.

Late blight continues to be an issue here at the farm. Scouting takes place three times a week. Scouting is what it sounds like; walking through each row of each tomato crop and making notes about the spread of the disease. Susie and I scouted five crops yesterday and I did two this morning. You can easily tell how much the disease has spread by walking the crops frequently. If the weather breaks and we actually get some sun and heat we'll be done with late blight as it can't survive these conditions, but if it stays damp - look out!

Insects are pretty much controlled. Mike sprays the onions once a week for thrips, the Mexican bean beetles are dead and there are a few Japanese Beetles around. Flea beetles are foiled by row covers and the potato beetles numbers have been severely reduced by using Entrust.

The cover crops I planned on planting this year haven't been planted yet; just too wet to work the fields much. It's still possible to bury a tractor, quite easily I might add. Six weeks ago I planted about three acres of oats and annual alfalfa mixed and we mowed it today. The oats were starting to head out in pretty good shape and as I didn't want them going to seed, we mowed them. The oats will die but the alfalfa, now that it's established, will grow and thrive without any competition from the oats. Sure, the alfalfa will winterkill, but it'll get some really good growth this late part of the summer and into the fall.

Harvesting will start in a couple of weeks with the determinate tomatoes. Washington Cherry will be one of the first ones to be harvested. We have eleven tomato productions here this year so we'll be busier than last year for sure.

The crops are coming in just about on schedule; lots of summer squash and cucumbers right now. Early tomatoes are also starting to ripen. I had a couple from a seed production Monday this week and they were pretty sweet. The next big crop will probably be melons and that's fine by me. Nothing like field fresh melons!

Until next week, enjoy the weather.


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