Farm Notes 6/16/09

Humid day in the gardens–spent a little time weeding around eggplant and sweet peppers in the east garden.  Some of those eggplant are pretty eaten up by flea beetles, but most are doing OK, and will grow out of the laced leaves.

I did give them a shot from my bucket of fish emulsion and rainwater to help them grow past the bug damage.  I had a bottle of fish emulsion break when I tossed it over the electric fence into another part of the garden where I was doing some transplanting, so I put the bottle in a bucket and have let the rain accumulate in there.  It doesn’t smell pretty, but the plants sure love it.

After that, and a few spot-weedings in other places (it’s getting about time to schedule the farm tour for late this month), I dusted the eggplant with diatomaceous earth to help discourage the flea beetles and the young grasshoppers that are now out in force.

Some of the spring cabbages look just about ready for harvest–I should have a few at the market on Thursday and more next week, I hope.  I also harvested some of the good-sized sugar snap peas today, so the pea vines keep producing well.  Unfortunately, I’ll have a smaller crop this year due to mole damage.

Still, I planted an improved variety of Sugar Snap (called “Super Sugar Snap,” apparently for lack of a better name).  I’m not sure it’s all that much better, but time will tell.  It’s supposed to be somewhat shorter (about 5 feet) instead of the 6 feet of its parent.

But the sugar snaps I grew always got to about eight feet anyhow, and some of these super sugars are already to six feet, so I don’t know that the claims about shorter vine length are going to be proven. The real test is if they bear more (that’d be nice, considering I’m starting with less) and if they succumb later to powdery mildew.

The powdery mildew might really be less of an issue than I thought it was–I mean, the original sugar snaps bore prolifically over a decent-length season, and at a certain point I want the peas to be done anyhow, so I can plant other vining crops on those trellises. So, we’ll see what the final verdict is.

One verdict that’s definitely in is on the Green Ice leaf lettuce.  I haven’t pulled it out yet, and though it takes about two weeks to recover from a heavy cutting, it’s STILL not bitter or bolting–at least as of yesterday.  Black-seeded Simpson would be long done, but this variety keeps the crispy goodness coming.

Funny, though–when I think about the list of crops I’d grow if I only grew the things I like best to eat, lettuce would not likely be on the list at all.  I know some people like that mild flavor, but I generally want something with a little more spice. Still, I love all the shapes and sizes and colors of lettuces–they are like the confetti of the garden.

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