Wow! What violent weather systems we have had as of late. We did not get hit too badly, but when the wind came up, we had to run for cover. I had to wonder if a tornado was heading our way. The crops are fine, but my neighbor told me just south of us they were hit with extremely damaging winds and rain. That is a tough thing for a farmer for whom everything lies at the mercy of nature.
This week, weather permitting, we will finally be planting our final warm weather crops. Cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, etc go in this week. They are looking very nice and ready for a new home. I held off starting these crops because when they are ready, they are ready. There is no holding back on them. We have a three or four day window for transplanting and then they are too "leggy" to transplant nicely. So, let us hope for little rain so we can get them into the field.
I noticed the first flush of cucumber beetles this week. There are five flushes in a year. This first flush is about two weeks late, so we may have two flushes right on top of each other. I dislike the little holes they put in the crop, but even more I dislike the fact that they are disease vectors, the truly bad thing about these guys. Disease control is the area of my pondering this year. Disease is what nature uses to control vegetation, so one variety does not take over. It is all part of nature's overall plan to keep the earth in balance.
My goal is always balance. So, how much intervention should I take in controlling disease? I find if I kill bad insects, I can upset the balance of good insects. My quest is to discover how to keep naturally occurring disease in balance with beneficial fungi that helps to balance harmful pathogens. Any insight is appreciated. I am sure I will come to a conclusion over the course of the summer.
This week's critter tale. The yellow finch are back in significant numbers. How beautiful! As many of you know, we eliminated most all of our animals from the farm, sending them to a friend's house for the season. We did keep Mr. Duck. I had two ducks, Mr and Mrs, but Mrs met with a predator and left Mr Duck as a widower. He was very depressed for a long time and I wondered if he would die from his depression. Then he decided to come on out of his house to play around. This week, though, having a open door policy with greenhouses, Mr Duck decided to enter house number one. He found the late crop of brussel sprouts to be an adequate place to wriggle around. I walked in and all the plants were laying flat. Ergh! I was not too happy with Mr. Duck. But the nice thing about plants is that they are very forgiving. The next day, with a drink of water, and some time to rebound, they were standing upright and happy again. Next time I get trampled, I hope I quickly stand upright with hope and dignity.
On a sadder note. Two of my three field workers had a family member involved in a life threatening accident and had to leave to go out of state. For this week we are extremely shorthanded. We had a hard time picking and processing. If you see some dirt please forgive us. Also, some of the crops are small yet due to the late spring we have had. We picked all we could, due to both situations, and will make up for it next week or the week after. Thanks for your understanding.
Kale (bit on the small side and not washed)