Week #12 – Horn worms and buckwheat

Here we are in the middle of August. We’ve had more hot weather, its been dry, and the tomatoes are in full swing. It feels like a typical August day. I am glad that we should get some rain this week, maybe even tomorrow while we are harvesting for the CSA pick up. I’ve been busy irrigating over the weekend and on Monday, but the real rain will be great.

I’ve also been waiting for some rain to put in some cover crops. I cannot irrigate when I put in cover crops so I am a little dependent on the rain for that. However, I am assuming we are going to get rain over the next two days so this morning I put in a bunch of buckwheat. It is a little late for buckwheat, but I don’t want to put in my winter rye yet so we’ll give the buckwheat a few weeks to grow. In a month or so I’ll mow it down and put in a mix of winter rye and either a clover or a vetch.

I spread all the cover crop seed over the area we started all our early spring crops that I was complaining about earlier. I also spread it up in a tilled spot in the north field. I tried to grow some sweet corn up there this year, but the deer went to town on it and we didn’t get any. This was a little odd to me because I planted less corn last year and they didn’t eat all of them last year so I was able to harvest some for the CSA. This year the deer completely clean it out. They must be extra hungry this year. I saw a good example of an effective electric deer fence that was not too expensive and looked fairly easy to put up. I may try this next year up there, the problem will be getting electricity up there.

A few weeks ago I talked a bit about bug and one bug that I didn’t mention was the tomato horn worm. I have not had much of a problem with them in previous years, but this year we’ve found a lot of them for some reason. I even found a couple on the greenhouse tomatoes, which has never happened before. Parasitized hornworm. Eric BurknessI have always felt fortunate that they haven’t been a problem and usually when I see them they have egg sacks from the wasp that preys on them. You can see that in this picture. All those white things are eggs cocoons of the larva that will feed on the worm. When you see this it is a great sign, which I usually do, but not this year. We did go through and collect many of them.Displaying 20150812_153833.jpg Here is a volunteer holding a few of them up. He wanted to take them home and let them become the pretty hawk moth that they will become someday. As long as he does not return the moth to the farm for them to lay their eggs for more of these guys next year.


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