NE wet weather brings Late Blight concerns

I support a distribution site for a local CSA: Piccadilly Farm in Winchester, NH. Along with weekly fantastic fresh vegetables, they send out a very informative news letter about current conditions for gardeners and farmers. I have copied their letter below, along with a list of crops they included this week. (Thanks Jenny!) Dear Shareholders, The news from the farm is no real news to you: it’s been raining. And raining, and raining. We saw only 8 rain-free days in June, with double the normal rainfall. On our farm, we…

slug? what slug?

This slug is so bold he was on my lettuce in midday! (They’re supposed to be nocturnal.) Well, he may not have realized it was midday with all the clouds and gloom we’ve had for the past month. Or, he realized I have much more lettuce than I can possibly eat. I haven’t done anything yet to eliminate the slugs, though I’ve seen their damage for several weeks now. I moved the melons and bok choy they were eating and that stopped that problem. They’re in certain spots in my…

Skippy in the woods – tick disease problems

The woods near my garden are so lovely now. The ferns and grasses are lush. And so many woodland critters. Skippy and I enjoy a nice evening walk on the paths. But I’m feeling badly for Skip. He had a check up with his veterinarian yesterday and he is positive for three of the four local tick-borne diseases. He tested positive for Anaplasma and the Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted fever pathogens. His doctor said, the good news is he doesn’t have Ehrlichia (the fourth local tick-borne pathogen). And, she…

bug season!

Fast growing plants mean lots of bugs. I suppose we have to expect this. Flea beetles: These are eating tiny holes in my potatoes again this year. Last year I was worried about this and added lots of marigolds to the bed. The beetles went away. But I think its just the natural course of events that once the leaves fill out and the season progresses, the beetles go away. They like the dust. So I’m ignoring them. Leaf miners: I have a minor problem with leaf miners on my…

so many rabbits…

I think we have a bumper crop of rabbits this year. I have never seen so many. Babies and adults – they don’t even run from gardeners and cameras. A pair lives in my neighbors backyard and Skippy watches them through the fence. He’d love to get out and chase them. I disturbed 3 tiny little babies while weed whacking the garden paths yesterday. Very cute! The baby bunny in the photo here was at Mt Auburn cemetery today and hardly even looked up at me. The big one is…

cabbage white butterfly

Pretty little cabbage white butterflies (Pieris rapae) are doing their dance in pairs all over the place. These are the most common butterfly in the US and BAD news for broccoli and cabbages. Tomorrow I will try to remember to bring hoops and row cover to the garden. I cover my brassicas at least until the plants are big. Same at my home garden, though I haven’t seem any cabbages whites there yet. They’ll find the broccoli soon. Kale too. My parents’ broccoli did fine last last year without any…

flea beetles on my potatoes

I just got back from a quick check of my community plot. LOTS of flea beetles on the potatoes! I didn’t notice them yesterday. They have chewed lots of tiny holes in the potato leaves making them look like fine lace. It seems the recommended organic control for flea beetles is to either use row cover before the pests emerge (too late for this) or companion plant with marigolds and beans. This I can do. It will look pretty! Solanum tuberosum

row cover for broccoli

This morning I covered my broccoli and kale seedlings with row cover to protect against the caterpillar of the cabbage white butterfly. Gretta says there are also flea beetles around. Both are a real problem and will eat the seedings down to nothing. So these guys get to be covered all season. Later I’ll make taller hoops.cabbage white butterflies (Pieris rapae)

carrot problems

Aarrgg! My carrots are all infested with root maggots. They look disgusting. I will have to pull and dispose of the entire crop. Very disappointing. Root maggot controls include crop rotation, immediate turning of soil in the fall, beneficial nematodes, and row covers. Next year I hope to plant my carrots in my new community garden plot, which will have more sun. It looks like people there worry more about rabbits as carrots are covered with chicken wire not fabric. Daucus carota