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: http://www.justapinch.com/
|leaf lettuce (head)|
DRESSING FOR WILTING
|red wine vinegar|
|ground black pepper|
Head lettuce - rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size piecesGreen 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: http://localfoods.about.com/
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