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Chatfield CSA e-news for June 19 - 21

Posted 6/16/2018 12:12pm by Josie Hart.

Dear Shareholders,

We try to spray even organic pesticides as little as possible, and we try to be as transparent as possible in all our practices. This week we sprayed a mixture of pyrethrum (derived from plants in the daisy family) and spinosad (a soil bacteria) on our potatoes to keep the flea beetles at bay. We scout for pests on a weekly basis and we try to spray early enough that we don't have to deal with a large population, which only necessitates more spraying ... 

Our main focus however is on growing strong and healthy plants which will not be as susceptible to insect damage, and more likely to withstand serious injury when insects do find them. Below are some thoughts from Katie regarding exactly how insects find the plants they like to feed on (we have a lot of time together out in the fields to speculate on all sorts of topics!). 

Once again (I never tire of talking about it!) the way to grow healthy plants is to build the health of your soil, and so our most important crops never get eaten. This week we mowed down the cover crops on the beds where we'll plant fall crops. Here are some photos of Maddy trying out our newest piece of equipment, the sickle-bar mower:

 

Katie says:

At Chatfield we work throughout the season to minimize the damage done to crops by common pests such as flea beetles, cucumber beetles, and squash bugs. Such pests are ones that farmers and gardeners alike struggle to control year after year. If you face this issue, and you’re like me, you may wonder where these pests come from and how they locate the specific crops that they feed on. A squash bug, for example, won’t go after crops that aren’t members of the cucurbit family, such as squash, melons, and cucumbers.                

So how do pests locate the right crop? It is believed that insects use chemical smell and taste cues to recognize plants, and that the insects can distinguish between plants based on their differing tastes and odors, determining the plant’s appeal to different insects.  Scientists also argue that visual cues play a role in pests’ location of their host plants. Phytophagous, or plant-feeding, insects are drawn to green things like leaves. Only after pests visually locates a crop will they use their chemical cues to determine whether or not they have landed on the right plant for them. Therefore, while bugs may use three different senses in conjunction with one another to complete the process of invading a plant, they must use them in proper order, and cannot use their chemical smell and tasting cues to direct themselves to crops on the other side of a field. Only once they’ve landed on a plant are they able to identify it.                

Pests like squash bugs overwinter as adults under crop debris, soil clods, and rocks in fields that they’ve occupied the previous season. Squash bugs emerge in the spring, using their cucurbit hosts as a feeding and mating grounds. If crops aren’t rotated through different fields each season, the bugs have a much easier time locating and destroying plants right off the bat.                

So the next time you find that an insect is feeding on the leaves of plants in your garden or on your crops, remind yourself that insects have amazing capabilities, and that produce with imperfections will still nourish you!

HARVEST LIST:

Chard
Carrots
Lettuce
Mint
Scapes

*Please note the exact share may change due to weather or crop conditions*

FEATURED RECIPE: Carrot Mint Salad

INGREDIENTS

• 1 pound carrots
• 3 tablespoons golden raisins
• 2/3 cup mint leaves, chopped finely
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS
Grate carrots. Combine with olive oil, raisins, lemon juice, and mint. Season with salt and pepper, toss to combine well, and serve!