Pests, Challenges and Opportunities

Many treasurers are being unveiled underneath the vines. Including some very beautiful gourds, squashes and pumpkins.

Many treasurers are being unveiled underneath the vines. Including some very beautiful gourds, squashes and pumpkins.

It’s hard to believe it is nearly mid-September, and the growing season is coming to an end. A few thoughts on this growing season.

Pests

The insects have been challenging on several crops this year including cabbage, cauliflower, summer squash, zucchini, and  the vine crops. We were thankful that the insecticide which was labeled as organic worked effectively on the potato bugs. White mold was a challenge on the vines. These pests put pressures on the plants which decrease the amount and quantity and/or quality of the vegetables that are harvested.

We will continue to research solutions for good plant genetics to withstand the variability of weather situations that plant growth faces, build soil health, control insects and plant disease challenges while sustainably growing stronger plants which produce healthy delicious produce.

Other Challenges

Due to the blessing of regular rains which cause the plant grow more rapidly, we missed the window of opportunity for staking our tomatoes this year. We will work not to miss that again. Staking the tomatoes makes them easier to harvest and cleaner at harvest. Thankfully we were able to stake the peas and cucumbers.

Peppers were interesting again this year. Many varieties did not grow or simply didn’t produce the quantity we had hoped for. The exception have been the Habaneros.

Squash varieties either died off early due to insects or a plant disease. So unfortunately, we did not get the quantity of summer squash, butternut squash (you will receive this soon), spaghetti squash (none survived the pests that we have found) or even zucchini. More are planned for next year.

The melons we planted from seed did not grow so we ended up buying plants. I am looking forward to next year, and the possibilities of some even more flavorful varieties.

What does this mean?

All of the above may sound a bit overwhelming, but in reality its exciting possibilities of new opportunities and challenges to learn more about Mother Nature. All while teaching the basics to our children and bringing to reality, lessons on reading, science and math through the study and exploration of agriculture.

Fun Fact

According to the Southern Research & Outreach Center in Waseca, this growing season has seen abundant rainfall. As of earlier today, the research station accumulated over 30 inches of rainfall during the growing season (May through September.). This is only the fifth time since 1915 this has occurred. All five of these 30-plus inches of rainfall growing seasons have taken place since 1991.

Science in the Garden

Corn Earworms - what a disappointing site to find in the corn. We did not use any insecticide on the corn, and since this is a later harvest for sweet corn, the probability for this pest increased. Breaking the affected part of the ear off and boiling the good part of the ear of corn is a solution to salvaging the good area. Unfortunately, if much of the ear has been affected disgarding it is recommended.

Corn Earworms – what a disappointing site to find in the corn. We did not use any insecticide on the corn, and since this is a later harvest for sweet corn, the probability for this pest increased. Breaking the affected part of the ear off and boiling the good part of the ear of corn is a solution to salvaging the good area. Unfortunately, if much of the ear has been affected disgarding it is recommended. Learn more about this pest here.

A lot of insects were found today. We believe this one to be a bald white faced hornet. Look closely and you will see it enjoying a spoiled cantaloupe.

A lot of insects were found today. We believe this one to be a bald white faced hornet. Look closely, and you will see it enjoying a spoiled cantaloupe.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So wash your vegetables before eating.

Lettuce and Spinach – New crop looks delicious. We hope this will last us until the end of September.

Carrots

Carrots

Carrots – Interested to hear what you think. These carrots came out of a different soil type then the ones earlier this summer. Your feedback is appreciated.

Green Beans – A little taste – a new crop of green beans and sugar snap peas next week.

Broccoli – Legacy Broccoli, hybrid. This is a broccoli that is good for growing during the warmer part of the summer. What is a hybrid? Learn more here.

Kohlrabi – We may get one more week of this.

Detroit Dark Red Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets

Beets – The beets will be coming to an end in a week or two.

Yellow Onions

Cucumbers – This is the end of the crop. Hope you enjoy the “ugly” cucumbers:)

Peppers – Watch out a few of the small Habanero peppers. They are mighty. Here’s a Habanero Salsa recipe.

The tomatoes were a little dirty at harvest this week due to the recent rain. We had 8/10ths of an inch early Tuesday.

The tomatoes were a little dirty at harvest this week due to the recent rain. We had 8/10ths of an inch early Tuesday.

Tomatoes – Tomato varieties included in your boxes: Yellow Girls, Honey Delights, Big Boys, Roma, Fourth of July, Big Mammas, Honey Delights, Amish Paste and cherry tomatoes. The tomato crop is quickly slowing down. Let us know if you would like any to freeze or can. Learn more about tomato research.

Potatoes – Midnight Moon and Masquerade in your box this week. I enjoy using these varieties however I enjoy potatoes!

Math is used frequently in the CSA. Including reinforcing adding and multiplication when bagging sweet corn.

Math is used frequently in the CSA. Including reinforcing adding and multiplication when bagging sweet corn.

Sweet Corn – We will be checking for corn earworms to determine if we will have another round next week. These little pests made an appearance in today’s harvest. We did not use any insecticide or other methods to control this pest. Learn more from the University of Minnesota.

Cilantro – For some fresh salsa with your tomatoes.

The boys were busy harvesting the remaining melons for this year.

The boys were busy harvesting this year’s remaining melons.

Melons – Choice of watermelon or cantaloupe. Enjoy!

The butterflies and bees abound on the flowers.

The butterflies and bees abound on the flowers.

Fresh cut arrangement – A variety from sunflowers, straw flowers, and zinnias.

Recipe of the Week

We love using our extra watermelon up in smoothies. We will freeze the extra watermelon to use it later when the meal simply “calls” for smoothies. Follow the link to Martha Stewarts’ site for pickled watermelon rinds. Several of you have mentioned the idea of doing this. In the mean time, sit back and try a smoothie.

Watermelon Blaster

3 cups cubed, seeded watermelon

1 1/2 cups strawberries

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 cup ice cubes

Sugar, to taste

Put watermelon, strawberries, lime juice, ice and sugar if desired into the pitcher of a blender, and blend for 15 seconds on high speed. (Always put the top on the container before processing.) Stop machine, and stir ingredients with a long wooden spoon. Blend for 15 seconds more on high speed.

Source: MarthaStewart.com

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