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Farm Update, May 20, 2016

This week at the farm we braced ourselves for another week of rain. We spent time scouting and maintaining our vegetable beds and busied ourselves with the tasks we knew we wouldn’t have time to complete later in the season. We are harvesting kale and chard to fill the orders for the CSA and about to begin picking our lettuce.

There were a few moments of concern as well. It began with a forecasted cold snap which sent us on a quest for crop row cover to insulate our tender veggies from potential frost. I remember hearing once that the material used for row cover was the idea of a diaper manufacturer seeking an alternate market for the material they produced in abundance (someone may want to fact check me on this). While our tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash, and cucumbers spent much of the week under wraps, our basil plants scheduled for planting, sat around in transplant purgatory waiting for the evening temps to stabilize. They are going into the ground today, Friday, May 20.

We were troubled by the sudden emergence of a textural pattern on the lettuce leaves beginning to affect much of our crop. The plants seem very healthy otherwise. We took photos and investigated it via various experienced farmers and the University of Maryland Extension. We were reassured to find out it is most likely a condition acquired by too much water and not enough sunlight and should work itself out with less rain and more sun. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

As a pre-emptive strategy we applied an organically approved agent to stunt the insect population of aphids, potato beetles, cucumber beetles, flea beetles, and flies which we are just starting to notice. It is a natural oil extracted from the neem tree which acts as a growth regulator and disrupts the molting process of these insects while in their larval stage. Our thought process is the more we can deal with things before they become a problem the better. Wasn’t it Benjamin Franklin that said, “an ounce of preparation is better than a pound of perspiration.” (someone should fact check me on that one too.)

I have to say the highlight of my week was spent as a guide touring farms in Woodbine with a few friends scouting locations for a film project. Although I felt like I was playing hookie while the rest of my crew busted out the tasks we’d been putting off all week, I must confess to the guilty pleasure of a moment in time; an appreciation for where we are currently in the season and getting a behind the scenes glimpse and sampling of the insights of the area’s farmers for whom I hold in high regard. Driving in my jeep wrangler with the windows down at Waterford Farm down tractor trails along fields of wheat and rye, along ponds fished by osprey with the Mark Twain-esque narration of the one and only Chuck Sharp, or having the behind the scenes glimpse of the wisdom, philosophy and layout of Larriland Farm with Lynn Moore amidst a gorgeous backdrop of seemingly endless orchards. What a lucky guy I am. Stay tuned next week for more ramblings of a bohemian farmer. Have a great week everybody.

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