4/11/14 Notes from Nancy

Thanks to the quick thinking of the Johnson group, we hopefully took care of a potential problem.  One week they had big beautiful potato plants…the next week they were sick and dying from blight.  They used the Extension Services to determine what it was and cut their tops off, bagged them, and removed them from the garden.  I appreciate their effort. They were able to save some of the tubers and hopefully still have some harvest.

Starting to Harvest Many of you have been taking home your first harvests!  We thinned Swiss chard and lettuce last week and had a delightful bunch of micro greens because of it.  Yum!!  Some of you have asked when to harvest your vegetables.  Each one is different.  The lettuces can be cut off at the stem and left to regrow.  The beans are coming on and when they get nice and full, then its time to pick…waiting too long will result in tougher dry beans. I would error on the side of picking too early for most of what we have growing.  Ask your mentors….don’t chance it.

When I pick produce to take home….You’ll want to rinse it off before you load it in your car.  Use the hose by the white rocks to hose the majority of the dirt off.  Then, if you want to rinse some more, use the sinks.  PLEASE leave the sinks in clean condition for the next gardener.  The lever to open and close the drain is found under each of the sinks.  For your lettuces please get a salad spinner.  They sell them at Wal-Mart and Target and are a must for our greens.  To use the spinners:  do the initial rinsing at the garden, take them home and put a fair size into your salad spinner.  Fill it up with water and douse a few times.  Dump out the water and secure the top.  Pump a few times and remove your greens. Lay them out on a towel to air dry a few minutes and put in an open storage bag into your refrigerator.  This will wash AND plump up any of your greens.

Plants have greened up!  I hope you’ve noticed how much greener the plants are.  Good job!  As a reminder for plant health, the more balanced the soil is the less bugs, the more growth, the healthier plant all around.  as you walk your row, notice if your plants are robust, if the leaves are free from critters and mold and disease.  If there is a problem, then nip it in the bud, so to speak. green_smiley

Some of my leaves have a powdery mildew…

Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew

The big leaves of the summer squash, the leaves of cucumbers, and the leaves of watermelon and cantaloupe are primarily susceptible to this fungus. It can be carried to the plant by insects or it can develop because of spores. I have talked to and visited many farms and it is very common for this area.  One solution I heard of recently was to spray one part milk and 10 parts water on the plant leaves. The person who used it says to apply it BEFORE the fungus begins. Another home method is to mix 1 tbsp. baking soda to 1/2 tsp. liquid soap to a gallon of water.  Shake and apply with spray.  The best way to control it though is to buy seeds that are resistant to powdery mildew. If you didn’t buy seeds that were, you might want to check out this website for homegrown methods of eliminating both mildew and pesticides.

http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/organic/2002081329023823.html

What are some natural pesticides: 

•  Neem oil
•  BT, or Bacillus Thuringiensis
•  Diatomaceous earth
•  Garlic ground and added to a spray
•  Hot peppers ground and added to water sprays

See the link above for some other solutions.  chicken getting ready to eat hornwormBugs can do a number on any plant in a matter of hours.  Now is the time to check your tomato plants for hornworms which can eat down leaves of a whole tomato plant.  One solution for hornworms is to sprinkle with a jar full of flour and a lid with punched out holes.  Hornworms have to be pulled off and squashed…or save them in a jar and throw them to the chickens in the back of the yard at the farm….they LOVE them.  

Are you cutting herbs? They are not fully grown but we do have a good assortment of herbs for your use:
       •  Greek oregano              •  Lemon thyme             •  Dill
       •  Italian oregano             •  Pineapple sage            •  2 kinds of parsley
       •  Rosemary                      •  Aloe
       •  Chives                            •  Cilantro

Please pinch off or cut little sprigs from our herbs to take home and cook with.  What a difference to use fresh herbs in your recipes!

Thanks for parking  in the field on Saturdays. You may drive down to the top of your row by the pond if you need to unload things then park where the public parking is for the market.  This frees up space for our vendors to unload and park their cars for the market.

Dogs at the garden?   Some of you have asked about bringing dogs to the garden.  Yes, they may come if you keep them on a lease at all times and clean up after them.  They are not allowed in the equestrian barn for obvious risk factors.  Please anchor them in the dirt by the garden area and not by any of the rows.  Don’t you wish we could teach them to weed? green_smiley

Vegetables are a must on a diet.
I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.

Vegetable Quote by Jim Davis

Nancy

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