Pest Control and the Fungus Among Us

The weeks are starting to get busier, and our enemies are drawing near.

Today is a venture into the wars we lead against the rodents, bugs and other pests that lay waste to our good veggies. And know that, not two years ago, I was carrying bugs out of my classrooms at school to let them free outside. But this is a whole different situation, and our crops and my paycheck on the front lines.

Flea Beetles.

 

Flea Beetle damage. Drats!

Within three weeks of my arrival this season, flea beetles had laid waste to our first mesclun planting. They riddle brassicas leaves, like our kale, mizuna, tatsoi and arugula, with these little holes. It doesn’t affect the taste or sanitation of the plants – we are still taking coolers of mesclun to market – but the greens look shot full of holes, and regrowth is pretty slow/nonexistent. Our second planting is under rowcover and hopefully will survive another onslaught.

CPBs – the worst!

CPBs, or the neat-looking but deadly Colorado Potato Beetle, are already tromping through our tomatoes, but have thankfully not hurt our potato crop…yet. I remember being a kid and pulling these critters out of our swimming pool, but at the larval stage they can seriously destroy leaf growth and way more as an adult. I still apologize to each bug as I squish it between two rocks, but at a point, when there are so many that we are sweeping them off the plants, I will have overcome my tree hugger mentality.

Cucmber Beetles.

Cucumber beetles have not arrived yet, but we are anxiously awaiting their arrival and have covered our summer squash in row cover. These guys  not only cause physical plant damage to plants and stems, but also carry a wilting disease that wipes out plants beds. Then, as if that’s not bad enough, their larvae tunnel into the ground and eat plant roots. You can’t catch a break with these guys.

Matt sprayed the eggplant with PyGanic mixed with fish emulsion to wipe out all the different bugs that want up on our black beauties. PyGanic is an organic pest control, but it wipes out all the bugs and knocks the plant back considerably in the process, so you supplement with the fish emulsion.

Deer. Rabbits. Chipmunks. Groundhogs. Yeah, I think they’re cute and lovely and all those things, but now that they are eating everything from my hardening off trays and out in the herb beds, and in the lettuces, they’re nothing but a hassle. We’ve mounted ten foot deer fencing and the deer still climb under. I just pieced together some netting for one of our hardening off tables –we’ll see if it works. And last week the guys set a crazy trap for a groundhog that was wasting our mesclun – and we got him.

Keith and Matt survey their conquest.

As does Jay, with more excitement.

Another discouraging note – the damp, wet weather up here is hurting us considerably, and has taken shape as a minor plague through one of our garlic fields. We are getting white rot on our bulbs in the center of one of our fields, and though this is apparently something that lives in the soil, the murky conditions of southern New York right now are helping it spread. We’ve lost maybe a hundred plants so far, which is not much in comparison to how much we’ve grown but is still distressing in terms of profit margins.

There are certainly more pests, methods of protection and other wars to wage on the farm, but this is where we are right now. So keep your eyes out and your ears to the ground, and together we’ll defend the farm.

-Farmer Liz

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7 thoughts on “Pest Control and the Fungus Among Us

  1. Well, well, well. I do believe your time at the Support Center dealing with exterminators and rodents has served you well, young lady. You look beautiful btw. oxox

  2. i have been reading your blogs and would like to offer you a schoolership to Dave’s school of readin, rightin, organtic farmin and stuff. As you know this is one of the finest schools in the country. Even the most interesting man in the world graduated from this fine institution. in the past you showed interest in attending but choose that inferior school instead. We are willing to give you a second chance. Please contact our main conunselor, Becki, to set up an interview.

    • Zippy’s frend,
      I wood like to inquyer as to wy I hav not reseved 1 of these schoolerships to Dave’s school of readin, rightin, and stuff. Fallo-ing my hi school gradooateshun in 2009, I wated months for an akkseptens letter frum the Dallas-based school, but it never errived. I assoomed this was a ovarsite on the deen’s part, and I deesided to postpone another aplicateshun until callej gradooateshun. I werked and studeed hard for the past 3 years, and in May of 2012, I gradooated a year erlyer then a normel callej trak with onners. Wile I am qerrently werking, Im still wateing on a reespons to my resent aplicateshun to Dave’s school. I wood luv to uhttend the school with the assistens of a schoolership. Plees, you hav offerd my sister 2 schoolerships now, wile I hav reseved nothing. What qualifikayshuns am I missing?

      • I doubled recheck me old recards and found you were ofered a schoolership in 2009 to Dave’s scool of readin, rightin, and Other stuf. it be turned down becase you wanted to atend the specal olypics.
        I now will ofer you a schoolship to our new scool. Dave’s scool of readin, rightin, and buying stuf. Plese contact ouw cansuler four more informaton.

    • When you say “the most interesting man in the world” do you mean the guy from the Dos Equis commercial or yourself?

      • I may not drink beer all the time, who am I trying to kid? I’m having one now.

  3. Zippy’s frend,
    I wood like to inquyer as to wy I hav not reseved 1 of these schoolerships to Dave’s school of readin, rightin, and stuff. Fallo-ing my hi school gradooateshun in 2009, I wated months for an akkseptens letter frum the Dallas-based school, but it never errived. I assoomed this was a ovarsite on the deen’s part, and I deesided to postpone another aplicateshun until callej gradooateshun. I werked and studeed hard for the past 3 years, and in May of 2012, I gradooated a year erlyer then a normel callej trak with onners. Wile I am qerrently werking, Im still wateing on a reespons to my resent aplicateshun to Dave’s school. I wood luv to uhttend the school with the assistens of a schoolership. Plees, you hav offerd my sister 2 schoolerships now, wile I hav reseved nothing. What qualifikayshuns am I missing?

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