May 9, 2013

It has been a wet week and the greens love it! It seems overnight the sugar snap peas have doubled in size and the collards finally look big enough for a decent harvest. The cool weather has also reduced some of the insect pressure we were feeling at the beginning of the season.

Our biggest culprits this year have been flea beetles, cut worms and vegetable weevils. We use an integrated pest management system to control not only the pests but also the beneficial insects we want on the farm. To control unwanted insects our first method is hand picking. Cut worms and vegetable weevils are big enough to find and kill by hand, although this is usually a satisfying task it is not a long-term solution. We have been using a lot more diatomaceous earth this year.

Diatomaceous earth is fossilized remains of hard-shelled algae that is crumbled into a powder substance, and at a microscopic level is very sharp. It will cause enough injury to the insect to kill them. As a last resort we have also been applying Bt, a naturally occurring bacteria. This bacterium harms the insect’s digestive systems causing them to no longer to be able to digest food.

In order to attract the beneficial insects we have been planting beneficial blend seed mix to the outer rows of our blocks. The blend is composed of different flowers, grains and legumes that will create a good habitat and attractant to the insects we want around. These insects will hopefully call Sugar Creek home, feed on our pests and reproduce, creating a sustainable insect balance on the farm.

Have a great weekend,
Ann and the Sugar Creek Crew

P.S.  the pics below show a microscope image of diatomaceous earth along with 2 pictures of our current arch enemy, the cut worm.

Wilted Lettuce via:
leaf lettuce (head)
green onions

5 slc
2 Tbsp
red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp
lemon juice
1 tsp
white sugar
1/2 tsp
ground black pepper

Head lettuce - rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
Green onions with tops, thinly sliced

1. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Remove from skillet, crumble and set aside.

2. To the hot bacon drippings, add the vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and pepper. Stir over medium heat until hot.

3. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce and green onions. Add the warm dressing and toss to evenly coat. Sprinkle with bacon and serve.

Green Garlic Pesto via:

1/2 pound green garlic
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup pine nuts or pistachios
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly shredded Pecorino cheese or other hard, flavorful grating cheese
Directions:  Trim and discard root ends of green garlic. Finely chop green garlic, rinse thoroughly and pat or spin dry. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook vegetable oil, green garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt until soft, about 3 minutes. Let cool to warm room temperature. In a blender or food processor, pulse pine nuts or pistachios to chop. Set aside. Add green garlic and process, scraping down sides as necessary, until bright green and smooth. With motor running, drizzle in olive oil. Pulse in reserved nuts and cheese. Taste and add more salt if you like.

No comments: