Friday, October 8, 2010

Happening Now on the Farm

John's been posting the Field Notes in chronological order but we can't wait for him to catch up to the present to tell you what's happening on the Farm right now.

Cucumber Vines on Wires
Both the Ruby and Green chard are planted and looking perky – although a pesky caterpillar is having a feast on a couple of the plants.  It can’t be a grasshopper as our dog, Uno, does grasshopper patrol.  Around and around the outside perimeter of the greenhouse he goes, pouncing and munching on any he spots.  I guess they are a real delicacy for him.

Our Oregon sugar snap peas are revving up and really producing now and we are still harvesting English cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.

We have been experimenting with different varieties and techniques.  We bent a wire mesh high over the walkway for the cucumbers to see if it would result in straighter ones.  An evenly straight cuke is rated number one while a crooked one is considered a number two and sells for less even though it tastes the same.  Several different tomatoes varieties were trialed: Suzanne, Arbason, Opalka, and Chadwick.  The results aren’t in yet but we’ll announce the winners soon.  We did discover that tomatoes like carrots but not turnips so much at least as our interplanting goes.  Also many herbs were trialed – dill, cilantro, chives and four different basil (lemon, cinnamon, Genovese, opal).

Parthenogenic Zucchini look promising but are probably too rampant a grower for the greenhouse.  They don’t require a pollinator so they can finish earlier than other varieties.  Also in the testing phase is a foliar spraying program in the greenhouse that alternates Safer’s insecticidal soap and seaweed (Maxicrop) one week with fish emulsion (Neptune cold hydrolyzed fish emulsion) the next.  Within hours of spraying the soap-seaweed mixture the Zucchini came to life and could have starred in a sci-fi movie – you could almost see them growing and the color deepened before your eyes.

The pepper plants were put in too late and got attacked by aphids, which in turn were attacked by ladybugs that produced hundreds of tiny dragon-like children – very hungry children.  What a spectacular battle – all in low motion of course. The ladybugs and offspring were unaffected by the soap spray but the aphids took a bath.   Our cabbages got religion and were almost too holey to eat.

Such are the trials of an organic veggie producer!

David and Valorie Hutt
Earth Echo Farm
Tecolotito, New Mexico

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