Monday, August 23, 2010

Organic farm!

I revoke my previous posting about Darko Urban Farm going inorganic. I stopped by Stone Brothers last week to ask if I could use the cow pesticide on the alarming aphid infestation that took over the crowder peas. They assured me that I could, and in passing, mentioned that the cow pesticide (I call it that because it has a picture of a cow on the bag and states that you can apply said pesticide to livestock!) is pyrethrin!

I certainly abhor a broad spectrum pesticide, and I don't know what I will do once I have bees, but it certainly suits me just fine to use an organic broad spectrum pesticide rather than a synthetic chemical one.

Upshot: I am still killing bees, which sucks, but I am killing them with flower powder. And it really has done an amazing job of killing pests.

Shout outs

Having been away on vacation for a few days, I would like to recount some garden adventures. Driving through Richmond to avoid a traffic jam, I saw a beautiful urban garden. It may have been on the corner of Decatur. I am inspired by it to try and make a cucumber room similar to theirs next year.

I also passed through Pennsylvania Dutch country. The farms were so beautiful and prosperous. I am insanely jealous. Will and I stopped at a small dairy farm that has 50 cows and sells the cheeses the family produces out of a store located on the farm. The cheeses were excellent and the farm beautiful.

I also visited a farmers market that reminded me that I love Durham and that there is no place that can replace its primacy in my heart. I overheard someone ask (the farmer??) where his berries were from and he responded that they were from California. WHAT? I was in upstate New York! There was plenty of lovely, fresh and local produce! I love you, Durham! I love you DFM!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pea aphids

The water blast method of getting rid of aphids is officially a failure. The crowders are COVERED in aphids-- more aphids than before. It appears that water blasting may actually cause them to multiply.

Here are the more useful things I learned:
Pea aphids overwinter on red clover, vetch or alfalfa. Awesome, since those are all great winter cover crops.

They don't, generally, lay eggs in NC, though they are capable of it. Instead, it appears that they have live baby aphids. Great. No pause to the sucking.

Apparently they are susceptible to a fungus of some kind that will kill them all pronto, but I couldn't find anything explaining how to introduce this dread disease, and when I tried, I discovered websites indicating that at some point in their evolution, pea aphids genetically morphed with some fungus and that is why they are green. Super great. Now the uugy aphids are kind of neat and interesting. . .

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tomato redux

I harvested so many tomatoes a couple of weeks ago, I thought I could never deal with them all. We canned and dried and ate and ate and ate. Then, one day, no more tomatoes. The plants didn't die or get sick, the tomato train just slowed WAY down. I was out in the garden scrounging for something to feed the bunnies (high summer may be even more difficult than February for collecting bunny food) this morning, and I think the respite may be over. There are a lot of green tomatoes and a wicked lot of flowers. Here's to round two!!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August in the garden

July went by in a blur of weeding and canning. We have put up tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn (not from the garden-- I find corn hard to grow), crowder peas, lima beans, tomatillos, cucumbers, and we are harvesting peppers. We also have pie pumpkins, butternut squash and a mystery winter squash piling up in the kitchen.

The house reeks of garlic as I try my hand at making pickles the fermented way for the first time. There is a huge bag of tomatillos in the freezer as I wait for cilantro's fall season before making salsa. There are about 30 jars of potatoes in the pantry. So I haven't been blogging, but I have been busy!

Squash bugs recently attacked Alexis' bed of luffas, pumpkins and butternut squash. She applied the pesticide powder with a picture of a cow on it after a consultation with Merrill at Stone Bros. We also got flea beetles on the eggplant. I am not sure if they're why we aren't getting eggplant. There is only one fruit on five plants. The flowers keep turning gray and falling off. If I liked eggplant more, I would look into it. And the crowders have aphids. I sprayed them with water until they came off a few days ago. I need to get out there and see if they are back.

Amber and Alexis came out a couple of weekends ago when we had two lovely 75 degree days and we pulled a pile of weed so huge that I was too ashamed to throw it over the fence into Amber and Tom's backyard. So it is still sitting in my backyard!

Oh and here is a great story. I harvested a bunch of dried lima beans and was inside hulling them. It turns out that ANTS will live in the pods. Eeeeewwwww. I would crack the pods open and hundreds of ants would pour out. It was completely repulsive.

There is lots more news, but I will stop with this excitement-- Alexis and Will and I built a top bar beehive last weekend!!! Bees will move in in March or April!