Controlling Pests

Pest control has consumed our time this week. From weeds to insects, they have been a challenge. Why do we work so hard to control weeds and non-beneficial insects in the garden? It is because they can overtake the crops.

The past few weeks with warmer temperatures, rain and high temperatures created ideal conditions for plants - especially weeds to thrive.

The past few weeks with warmer temperatures, rain and humidity created ideal conditions for plants, especially weeds, to thrive. A lot of time has been spent weeding to ensure there was a crop to harvest. In the forefront, you see the “after weeding” and in the background, is before weeding. Before weeding you could hardly see the crop.

Potato bugs are a nemesis and will completely eat the potato plant down to the stem which in the end will kill the plant. No plant - no potatoes. We did spray the insects this week so they did not decimate the crop. We have our pesticide applicator license. In order to receive this from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture you have to take a test and a class so that you understand how to use these crop tools according to government safety regulations. The insecticides are targeted to the insects. We would not use the insectides if we did not need to. We use them and know based on the research that has been conducted on the insecticides that the food produced by the plants will be safe for our kids to eat.

Potato bugs are a nemesis and will completely eat the potato plant down to the stem which in the end will kill the plant. No plant – no potatoes. The potato bugs shown are younger potato bugs.

We did spray the insects this week so they did not decimate the crop. We have our Minnesota Department of Agriculture pesticide applicator license. In order to receive this, you have to take a test and a class so that you understand how to use these crop protection tools according to government safety regulations. The insecticides are targeted to the insects, and insects are different biologically then humans.

We would not use the insecticides if we did not need to control the insect population. We know, based on the research conducted on the insecticides by government agencies and private industry, that the food produced by the plants will be safe for our kids to eat.

This is what the cucumber beetles have been doing to our vine crops. We have also put insecticide on these plants to protect them from this pest.

This is what the cucumber beetles have been doing to our vine crops. We have also put insecticide on these plants to protect them from this pest.

Something Fun

Continual learning is part of farming. This past week, we went on our yearly 4-H club's farm tour. During the tours, the kids share with attendees of the club and the club members' parents information about their project and what they have learned. In addition to the kids learning from kids, adults learn from the 4-H members and from each other. Keith was fortunate at one of our stops to hold a kid, baby goat.

Continual learning is part of farming. This past week, we went on our yearly 4-H club’s farm tour. During the tours, the kids share with attendees of the club and the club members’ parents information about their project, and what they have learned. In addition to the kids learning from kids, adults learn from the 4-H members and from each other. Keith was fortunate at one of our stops to hold a kid, baby goat. While this isn’t what we have on our farm, seeking first to understand other 4-H projects and farm production methods is part of continuous improvement for ones self and for our farm.

Garden Science

This week is National Pollinator Week. We try very hard to have beneficial insects in the garden to eat the nemesis insects so that we can have active pollinators on our crops. We plant flowers such as 4 o’clock, marigolds, sunflowers, zinnias and pollinator seed packs to bring in pollinators as well as beneficial insects.

Did you know? Many crops such as strawberries, cucumbers, pumpkins and more depend on pollination. Pollinators include honey bees, butterflies birds and more.

Learn more about National Pollinator Week and activities that you can do with your kids from American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture.

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.

Asparagus – This will be the last of the fresh-cut asparagus from the Chute’s Farm Fresh Gardens in Aitkin, Minnesota. Check out this resource by the Michigan Asparagus. Did you know Michigan is one of the top producing states of asparagus?

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – One of my favorite garden crops. 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 remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

Prizeleaf Lettuce

Prizeleaf Lettuce

Prizeleaf and Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love these beautiful lettuces – Prizeleaf is green with reddish tips and Red Oak Leaf is a red lettuce leaf. They add such a wonderful color to salads and sandwiches.

Spinach – Remember to wash before eating.

Detroit Dark Red Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets

Beet The beets are Dark Detroit Red Beets.

Beet Leaves – The beet leaves are Bull’s Blood Beets which are young plants that we are thinning out of the rows – eat the whole plant in a salad – delicious. It will add color and nutrition to your salads.  Note: In the bag with the spinach.

The pea pod grows from the flower. Notice the white flower at the tip of the pod.

The pea pod grows from the flower. Notice the white flower at the tip of the pod.

Sugar Snap Peas – The first of the sugar snap peas are in. You can eat the pod and the peas. These are a shareholder favorite. You may have noticed peabine’s or pea harvesters in the fields around Northfield this past week. They are harvesting peas for processing – this is a different variety of pea. Fact: Minnesota is the second largest state for growing green peas for processing (meaning the peas will be frozen or canned peas like we buy in the store)

Radishes – French Breakfast radishes this week – a taste for your salads or a radish sandwich.

The carrots are growing well in our raised bed.

The carrots are growing well in our raised bed.

Carrots – Enjoy some fresh carrots.

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Fresh cut arrangement – hosta leaves

Recipe of the Week

Lazy Tacos

Crush corn chips and layer taco favorites on top such as:

taco meat, onions, black olives, tomatoes, lettuce, cheddar cheese, chilli beans, miscellaneous vegetables, salsa, cottage cheese or salad dressing

Chop onion. I love my Pampered Chef chopper. Great tool for the kitchen!!

When browning my hamburger, I add a little bit of onion finely chopped so the kids don’t notice it.

While the hamburger is cooking, I wash my lettuce and place in my salad spinner. Again, the salad spinner is a must have tool. By spinning the moisture off my washed lettuce I find that it keeps longer in my refrigerator.

When slicing tomatoes, I have found that using a serrated knife works great. No more smashed tomatoes. I have a designated cutting board in my kitchen for all vegetables and fruits and a totally separate cutting board set aside for only meats. Just an extra safety precaution in our kitchen. Keeping foods separate to avoid cross contamination.

Homemade salsa from last year is a delicious addition to this meal.

Lazy taco – enjoy with your favorite dressing. Add a side of fruit and a glass of milk, and you have a well-balanced, colorful and fun meal for the family.

 

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