Geese

 A tobacco hornworm -- a tiny one -- infected with larva parasites from a braconid wasp. The white sacks are actually small cocoons that they've woven. One might be tempted to smoosh them all -- as they can eat a whole tomato plant in a week-- but then what would the parasites infect? I tried collecting and feeding them in a cage one year, as a way to attract and breed the wasp, but I had a hard time keeping them alive with the tomato leaves and fruit that I gave them. It would have been cool, though. There is also an egg parasite, which gets it one metamorphic stage sooner, but I have never personally seen that one. While this all just happens naturally, in the future I might import biological controls for particular issues.   Pediobius foveolatus  , for instance, which the state of New Jersey releases  en masse,  controls Mexican Bean Beetle, a copper-colored lady-bug-looking pest whose yellow larva are eating all of our snap beans at the moment.

A tobacco hornworm -- a tiny one -- infected with larva parasites from a braconid wasp. The white sacks are actually small cocoons that they've woven. One might be tempted to smoosh them all -- as they can eat a whole tomato plant in a week-- but then what would the parasites infect? I tried collecting and feeding them in a cage one year, as a way to attract and breed the wasp, but I had a hard time keeping them alive with the tomato leaves and fruit that I gave them. It would have been cool, though. There is also an egg parasite, which gets it one metamorphic stage sooner, but I have never personally seen that one. While this all just happens naturally, in the future I might import biological controls for particular issues. Pediobius foveolatus, for instance, which the state of New Jersey releases en masse, controls Mexican Bean Beetle, a copper-colored lady-bug-looking pest whose yellow larva are eating all of our snap beans at the moment.

2018 Week 36, Summer CSA Pick-up 14 of 26

A hot day, a sleepy night, and so a quick note to you all. Here's what's happening on the farm.

Watering some of my brother-in-law's tropical plants last week, beside his succulents, at sunset ... I understood myself a little. Why it is I grew 100 varieties of tomatoes this year. His plants were a transportation, and so is each variety. We farmers must travel, from garden to garden, and back in time, with every historic and family seed we grow. Because how else are we to leave our patch of dirt, when it asks so much of us, but especially of our time? And where else would we want to go, if we could, but to another patch of dirt, like ours, and so known, if a little different? The stories we wouldn't even need to tell ...

The beds are clean and ready for fall/winter spinach, all we need now is some cooler weather to seed it. Spinach is a shoulder-season crop, growing in the fall and spring, and surviving winter here quite well. But it doesn't like the heat, and often doesn't bother to germinate if the soil is over 75 degrees. So, I am waiting until Thursday to give it a shot, when these 90s slide down to the 80s. To improve our chances, I will soak the seed overnight in lukewarm water, like a good rain, and then irrigate the seeds to set them in the soil properly, should it not rain on Friday. Don't get too excited, just yet, though, as all these farm things take time! :) The first baby spinach might be ready to harvest in two months.

I seeded another field to cover crops -- Buckwheat, Tillage Radish, Berseem Clover, Austrian Winter Pea, Bell Bean, and Woollypod Vetch -- just before the rain last week, and it is already starting to germinate. Awesome. This fourth planting of tomatoes looks pretty good so far, and it makes me smile, indeed, to pick properly sized fruit from big, mostly-healthy plants. I also finished cleaning/thinning the fall carrots, radishes, and turnips, and they look all right ... though we have a ways to go with them. Up to thin/clean this Thursday are the fall beets and rutabaga.

Raspberries continue -- at 15 hours a week for harvest -- and though I will offer all I can, I can't get them all this year without help. If anyone wants to pick more than I have at the CSA distribution, let me know and I will show you where they are. I am getting 'Caroline,' 'Heritage,' and 'Josephine,' but have left 'Joan J' alone. That one would be for you.

And, of course, the geese are back! Our zen bells on the farm, who, overhead honking, give us pause and a good chance to breathe, see, and not work ... as they fly on. We have also had another bird on the farm, which you might call the 'horse fly.' But they're so big, they must be birds. They flock to raspberry pickers, so note, should you be one of them.

My best,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Chard

Veggies
Beans, Snap
Carrots
Celery
Okra
Onions
Pepper, Sweet
Potatoes
Tomatoes, Large & Small

Fruit
Raspberry

Herbs
Ashwagandha, dried
Basil, Holy
Dill
Garlic
Hot Pepper, Fresh & Dried
Mint, of some kind*
Shiso
Sorrel

Staples
Beans, Dry
Popcorn

The Pickle Pile

Flowers

*New This Week

 Turmeric, always so pretty. Ginger, behind it, a little less so. :) It was a wet year, as you know, when even the potatoes and carrots rotted underground. I will start to dig these come October, so let's keep our fingers crossed! 'Kentucky Colonel' mint comes in well on the right.

Turmeric, always so pretty. Ginger, behind it, a little less so. :) It was a wet year, as you know, when even the potatoes and carrots rotted underground. I will start to dig these come October, so let's keep our fingers crossed! 'Kentucky Colonel' mint comes in well on the right.