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And More Planting

May 13, 2013
Kale in the first beds planted in the main field

Kale in the first beds planted in the main field

It has been nearly a month since I last posted, and I am still trying to catch up on planting. We got our first main field ready that weekend in mid-April and the planting really got going. Kale, chard, cabbage, kohlrabi, the second planting of peas, beets, onions, lettuce, fennel, potatoes, and carrots are all in the ground now. I still have more onions, leeks, more peas, more lettuce, more carrots, and beans to go into the first main field. Then, it is on to the second main field and the warmer weather crops. I did get the tomatoes out this weekend, in the smaller field, the earliest I think I have ever put tomatoes out.

Filter and pressure regulator for the temporary main field irrigation

Filter and pressure regulator for the temporary main field irrigation

The weather has been incredible, hasn’t it? When has the spring ever been this dry? Maybe the last few years are clouding my memory, but I think this must be a record for the least amount of rain in a spring. With so little rain, we have had to hurry to get irrigation going. The farm had some infrastructure/pipes in place, and we chose our fields to be near that infrastructure, but there was still a lot to purchase and set up. I put together a short term temporary system, with parts we brought with us and a few garden hoses. Luckily, through the recommendations of a few people, we found Saffron Supply Company, an old Salem hardware store, where we can get the supplies we need. Just this weekend, Steven finished putting together our temporary system, that may serve us a few years until we put in a whole new system of pipes to go with our long term field plan for the farm. That project will be huge.

Flea beetle damage on the purple mizuna

Flea beetle damage on the purple mizuna

And while I am loving this amazing weather, it has revealed something important: a few of the pests I will be dealing with in the future. I had been watching some of the greens I put in the hoop house for flea beetle, a common pest for arugula, mizuna and bok choi. Then, the main field was ready and I started planting. The weather got a little warmer, too. I wasn’t watching so closely and the flea beetle popped out. They damaged the arugula, purple mizuna and bok choi before I noticed them. I should have had the beds covered with row cover, to keep the beetles off the plants. Too late now, but I’ll know better for next time.

Western Spotted Cucumber Beetle on the chard

Western Spotted Cucumber Beetle on the chard

I have also noticed cucumber beetles are out. I wrote about them last year, in my greens, here. They are at it again, really getting into the chard this year. The numbers are not huge, so I am hoping the plants will outgrow them while I get some flowers out that should attract beneficial insects that will prey on them. As I  research what else I can try, I’ll just keep squishing the ones I find.

While this warm, dry weather has made for ideal conditions for some pests, it has also put at least one away for the time being: slugs. During the winter, I was pretty concerned about the slug population I was seeing. Lots and lots of slugs. But,they don’t like to come out when it is dry, so there has been virtually no damage from slugs. There is a silver lining.

Not everything is getting eaten by insects... a beautiful new (to me) variety of lettuce: Cardinale

Not everything is getting eaten by insects… a beautiful new (to me) variety of lettuce: Cardinale

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