Farm News- August 18, 2011
It was a week of glorious weather; plenty of sunshine and moderate temperatures. Now it seems we have slipped back into the rainy weather pattern that prevailed in the spring. The rains that began on Saturday evening have dropped 3 inches on us thus far, with more forecast for Monday and Tuesday. While the fall brassica crops are benefiting from all the moisture, for most other crops this much rain is not helpful. Plant diseases spread rapidly during prolonged period of rain and overcast skies. The tomatoes are perhaps the most susceptible, but the beans as well as the cucurits (cukes, melons, and squash) also suffer. The primary culprits are fungal diseases, such as early blight in tomatoes and powdery and downy mildew in the squash family. We have a few weapons in our tool box of organic spray materials, such as a hydrogen dioxide formulation called Oxidate, an essential oil product called Sporan, and a biological product known as Serenade. The problem is that they are not so effective if they are washed off immediately after application. Nevertheless, for me this week’s primary task will be trying to keep the fungus among us at bay.
The other down side to so much precipitation is the effect on our ability to harvest the crops. We pick in the rain when it’s necessary, but we try not to touch the beans or the squash family crops when they are wet, as not to spread diseases from one plant to the next. I am also held up with my planting schedule, because the seeder won’t function properly in saturated soil and because I cannot prepare more planting beds while the ground is too wet. Keep your fingers crossed that the ten day forecast is not as bad as it looks at present.
The share for this week will be:
Red or green Romaine lettuce, string beans, tomatoes , peppers, eggplant, squash, cucumbers, red potatoes, white onions, savoy or green cabbage, beets and melons or watermelons.