Monday, July 15, 2013

Farm School Summer Series Week Five

With Lynn under the weather yesterday,
Faye was chief harvester and I was on pest patrol.

 We started with the beans.

We are on the hunt for leaf rollers.
We've talked about these before.

Here's what they look like when you roll the leaf back over.

And when they are really good at playing hide-and-go-seek,
they get this big.

Here's another kinda critter and the damage it leaves behind.
Some things are so small, it's difficult to identify them
(or maybe it's my over 50 eyes).

We saw a few different types of spiders.

Some friendly,

some not so much.
These are brown widow spider egg sacs.
They like to hang out under the rim of pots.
Take care to wear gloves and check this area 
when moving pots around.

 The beans are producing a decent amount of yummies.
I was able to take some home 
and prepared them with last night's supper.

So dee-lish!

 A few banana peppers of various hues were also harvested.
You know they're good for you just by lookin' at the vibrant colors!

Olive oil, salt, parsley and a bit of basil fresh from our patio stash 
is all that's required.

New okra shoots.
 Thus far, this is one of the crops with the least pest problems.

The flowers are gorgeous.
Faye discovered that there is a certain beetle that nestles 
into the small collar where the blooms emerge.
They begin their feast there.

While the more established okra plants are doing well,
these new starts in the west end of the garden 
were showing signs of trouble.

Upon further investigation,

the backs of most of the leaves 
were covered with some sort of antlike critters.

Some things found on the underside are unidentifiable,
at least by me.

For the first time, 
this mottled pattern was appearing on some of the crops.

Thanks to Faye's keen eye,
we were able to take about 20 black swallowtail cats home to host.
Love watching nature do its thing.

Here's a new trick that Faye and Lynn learned about.

They placed pennies in bags containing a bit of water
and hung them near the cherry tomato plants.

The idea is that the reflective aspect will deter birds or pests 
from bothering the crops.
It's too early to know if it works,
but it's worth a try.
Faye and Lynn are committed to growing pesticide-free produce
so they are willing to give these types of methods a go.
I admire that.

Pest control is a never-ending job,
but it's part of being a farmer.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to pesticides.


There's so much beauty here.

So many wonderous creations of nature.

 Hopefully, Lynn will be feeling stronger real soon.
With surroundings like this, it's gotta help a body heal.

How do you keep those pests at bay?
I'd love to hear any tricks you might have in the garden.

See how the Farm School Series began here.