Farm Update – water, squash, and bugs

We had our first groundhog siting of the year. It was a little troubling, but I didn’t see any damage. For those of you who are new, groundhogs are my sworn enemy on the farm. I will keep you all updated

Water – In other news, I am very thankful for the rain today. It had been a long time since we had a decent rain. The amount of irrigation management I was having to do was keeping me from other things. Even though it does take some time to turn on and off irrigation line, make sure the drip tape is where it should be, turn on the appropriate valves, and possibly repair any leaks I did upgrade the irrigation system this spring to make things a little easier than in the past. The main thing I did was increase the size of all the supply lines to the drip tape. I have not tried to turn every line on yet, but we’ve had about two thirds of the lines going and we have had enough water to keep everything flowing. This helps a lot to water everything that needs water when it needs it. Before, I could just do 10 beds or so at a time. I also changed the lay out of the irrigation and some beds so everything is just simpler to water. So even if we never get any rain this summer, I’m ready.

Winter Squash – I am also glad it rained because we planted all our winter squash yesterday. We grow our winter squash at the other farm where we are renting space. The irrigation is not readily available at this farm where the squash is at. We did pull a 125 gallon water tank around and gave them all water as we transplanted them, but that was not going to last long so we were counting on the rain.

We also made an improvement (I hope this will be the case) for the winter squash. I used this black landscape fabric to cover the field before we planted the squash. You can see this same system west of the hoop house where are summer squash and melons are located. I love this plastic fabric. It covers the entire section and makes it so you have no weeds at all. It is great for melons and squash because they vine out and any sort of weeding becomes difficult after a while. I am very hopeful that our winter squash will be much better than last year based on the fact that our melon harvest improved with the landscape fabric.

Bugs – I mentioned this earlier, but I thought I’d say it again, but I’m sure you’ve noticed  but a certain bug called the flea better has been particularly terrible this year.  All the asian greens have gotten many holes. They turn them into lace. The spicy salad greens and arugula also have them. They are also in the kale and broccoli, which I’ve not seen before. I’ve never seen them this bad before. The method that we usually use to protect crops from flea beetles is row cover, but that has not stopped them this year. There is not a great organic spray to get rid of them, plus they are like fleas and when you approach they jump away so I’d miss most of them before I could get the spray to them.

I know of a couple other people that have had a hard time with them this year so I know it isn’t just me. Which makes me feel a little better, but it is still frustrating to see. And they did wipe out a planting of arugula and salad turnips, which we would be enjoying by now.

So I apologize for the holes. Flea beetles do not last long into the summer, I’ve already seen plants look much better than before so there is hope that we are getting out of it. Until then we just have to deal with swiss cheese bok choy.

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