I walked around the farm this morning to check on the spring crops. Nothing we have planted is tender so all the frosty mornings have not been a problem. Peppers, tomatoes, sweet corn, etc await in the greenhouse, snug and warm. We are in a wet period now but aren’t behind in planting (yet). The weeds, however, are really starting to pop, so we are anxious for the fields to dry so we can cultivate again.
A couple weeks ago, we noticed the first generation of our fly pests. These would be the maggots that hatched in the ground this spring from overwintered eggs. There are so many fly pests- onion maggot, cabbage root maggot, seed corn maggot- and we’ve got them all. They feast on the roots and stems of their host plants, but Ben found some on beets so apparently they don’t discriminate. We’ve found that a good defense for these pests is to introduce nematodes, a beneficial organism that is parasitic to maggots and larval stages of other pests too. It kind of feels like magic as nematodes are invisible to the eye. They come in the mail in a powder that we dissolve in water and then spray over the fields. We ordered 50 million, or enough to sufficiently cover an acre. We targeted the onion and brassica (cabbage, kale, broccoli, etc) fields. Ben sprays in the evening so the nematodes have a chance to infiltrate the soil. Doing this before a rain is also a nice way to make sure that they don’t just dry out or blow away. It’s becoming a yearly springtime tradition!
As soon as it drys out we’ll cultivate the entire farm with our Tilmor cultivating tractor as well as hand hoe a few problematic thistle patches. We have another round of salad mix and head lettuce to plant as well as swiss chard. We’ll have to make beds and lay plastic for our tomato and pepper plants and summer squash too!
Until then, I’ve been using the wet fields and cold weather as an excuse to do important, but often neglected office work. We need to ready ourselves for the CSA, the start of which is quickly approaching. Ben has been busy fixing our vehicles and making sure everything is in working order. Our crew has been busy seeding and helping with the plant sale. By the way- if you are in need of plants, we still have plenty! We’ll be going to 2nd Street Market on Saturday with our remaining inventory. CSA members still get 10% off!
I am pretty tired of my winter diet and can’t wait to start eating our fresh veggies! I also can’t wait to get them into our customers’ hands. Soon!