Thursday, September 3, 2009

What's New At The Farm? 9/2/09

An inch of rain over the weekend and I guess we won't have to irrigate at all this year. Not that we mind, but one less thing we have to do. We've plenty to keep us busy this time of year anyways.

We harvested two tomato seed productions this week, Washington Cherry and Gold Nugget. We'll harvest Moskvich and Valencia tomatoes this week and a couple of small melon increases as well. We'll be picking tomatoes for much of the month of September. We didn't have nearly the yields we would have gotten in a normal year; between the poor weather and the Late Blight our yields were considerably reduced. Still, they'll be some.

The Late Blight seems to be in a state of arrest right now and I don't expect it will continue to be much of a problem. When we first discovered it on the 29th of July it spread fast and hard and killed many of our tomatoes. After instituting an aggressive spraying program coupled with a heavy leaf and stem pruning we seem to have contained it. This is the first time we have seen Late Blight in the past 30 years or so and I hope it's the last time. Next year we plan on putting spray rows in so we can spray proactively throughout the season. Typically we stop spraying tomatoes once the plants become so large that we will do too much damage driving through them with the tractor mounted sprayer.

Spray rows are simply a row that's left unplanted so we can drive the tractor down through the field without running over any plants. The sprayer can do three rows at once so that's one on each side of the tractor. With some light modification we can spray two rows per side. By planting four rows, skipping one and planting four more we can spray the entire field without damaging anything. Having spray rows also makes harvesting easier as we can run the harvester down the middle of the field and not just on one edge.

We do have a hose on the sprayer with an application gun but it'd very time consuming and labor intensive to drag a hose all through the field to spray, especially when you have acres to spray.

Spraying is about done for the season. Mike Bowman has done all the spraying this year. I always enjoyed spraying as most results were immediate. The list of crops and pests we spray is quite extensive even though we use a great deal of row covers for insect protection. Springtime insects include lots of flea beetles, aphids and thrips. The summer pest control focuses on diseases, cucumber beetles, potato beetles, Japanese beetles and Mexican bean beetles. Spraying in late summer/early fall is mostly for cabbage moths, tomato hornworms and tarnished plant bugs. There are others but these are the most serious ones.

Well, I've got some seed extraction to do today so I guess I'd better get out there and do it. Until next week, enjoy the crisp and dry weather.



Anonymous said...

What exactly do you spray with?

Brian Milliken said...

wWe use Serenade, Sonata, Champion WG and Oxidate for early and late blight on tomatoes, Pyganic on thrips, Mexican bean beetles, Japanese beetles, flea beetles and tarnished plant bugs, Dipel on Imported cabbage worms, Neem on aphids and finally Entrust on striped cucumber and Colorado potato beetles.