alpine flowers at Grey Rock

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Potato Plant Is Dead

I have recently received a distress email about a dying potato plant, and so I wanted to respond in a more public fashion than just a reply to a comment. I want to let you know that potato plants at our farm are finishing up and look quite sad at this point. They have flowered which indicates potatoes, each flower cluster indicates a potato, each flower in the cluster is an eye on that potato. The stems are drying up and toppled over. The whole thing looks damaged. BUT, never fear, this just means it is time to do the most fun farm job there is, DIGGING POTATOES!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth, DE for short, is made up of diatoms, old sea bed creatures collected from dry lakes around the Great Basin area. The fossilized creatures have very spiny bodies which when applied to plants where soft bodied insects lurk, tend to poke holes in those critters such as aphids or larval stages of bugs. This picture is a not so good DE application on hot pepper plants that the ants had farmed some aphids on. Yes, ants raise aphids so they can get the nectar the aphids suck out. Not sure exactly how it works, one of those symbiotic things. DE can be applied with a duster(mine died) or a flour sifter or even a sieve. Just don't breath the dust as those same silica particles can lodge in lung tissue forever.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pest of the Month:Spotted Cucumber Beetle

Spotted Cucumber Beetle These guys are voracious. If you see one, take care of it. If you see more than three, you best plan your attack. You can hand pick them at first or drop them into a narrow mouthed bottle with some water in it. If you can't get them all that way, you had better use Neem and spray the area where they were seen and any surrounding delights they might head to next. They are notorious for eating the insides of cucumber, squash, or melon flowers. They will eat foliage, but tender flowers are their favorites. This limits your production greatly, as no flower, no fruit. If there is an infestation and you see them flying around, use Pyganic daily, not in the heat of the day, until you don't see any. No Kidding! These guys and their pals, the Striped Cucumber Beetle are not a bug you can garden with!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Weed of the month

Mallow! It is actually a stomach tonic, but only if you need one. For me it is a deep rooted bother that turns up in anywhere I have cultivated once and not again. That is it finds a happy home around perennials, along the edges of the greenhouses, by water faucets, etc. The roots go to the center of the earth I think. It has geranium looking leaves and a sprawling nature. It knows I can't always get it out. When I chop it off, it tells me "I vill be bock" much like Arnold Schwarzenegger would say.