Farm Notes: Summer Pests

We are entering the long hot days of summer (or maybe we have already been here?) but that means a lot to look forward to on the farm in the coming weeks. We were so excited to spot the first cherry tomatoes ripening on the vines! However, we also noted the arrival of Tomato Horn Worms in our high tunnel, along with some other pests and nuisances we are usually happy to avoid. Right now our crops are playing host to a variety of insects such as the Colorado Potato Beetle, Flea beetles (those little black specks you may have seen on your kale or radishes), cucumber beetles and of course other beneficial insects like lady bugs and honey bees. That is the beauty (and hard work) of growing everything without chemical pesticides.

Summer camp CIT's helped us pick off tomato horn worms in the tomato tunnel

How do we combat these pests? A variety of ways. This week you may see some white fabric in the field known as "row cover" or "Reemay", a physical barrier that allows sun and water in but keeps the bugs out. We also will spray a organic clay powder on certain crops that stops insects from being able to land on the plants. And then there are the hours spent pulling bugs off plants by hand and squishing them under foot. Basically all of this is to say, it's a jungle out there and we do our best to keep up with all nature has to throw at us. 

An aerial shot of the farm, showing row cover on crops in the field, keeping out the flea beetles.

 

Erika Brenner, Assistant Farmer
U-Pick CSA Newsletter, Week #5


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