The week started out hot and dry. One of the large high tunnels automated roll up sides are malfunctioning. The pipes that are connected that do the rolling have come undone and need to be screwed back together. One of the automated winches stopped working and the other rolled up one end of the tunnel but the side droops all the way to the ground.
Cucumber plants are really taking off but are under a barrage of attacks from cucumber beetles, whiteflies and squash bugs. He white flies are pretty bad and in the lack of rain have even started to thrive out of the tunnels on squash plants nearby. I have started spraying neem oil to try to combat them as well as putting out yellow sticky cards.
Along with the yellow sticky cards I have also put out pheromone lure traps for cucumber beetles and vine borers. The traps for vine borers are too late and should have been placed out when the squash and zucchini were planted. During my summer courses I have learned many things that would have made pest management better on the campus farm. The concept of trap cropping being one of the biggest. To protect the cucurbit crops Planting under a row cover fabric will go a long way as will spraying the seedling with WPSurround, a clay product that hides plants from pests. On row ends a more attractive variety of plant is used to bring the pests to it for capture and killing. Hubbard squash plants red kurri and blue hubbard will be attacked before other squash plants where pests can be killed and trapped, hence trap crop.
An interesting challenge continues to come up on the campus farm and that is how to describe to new farmer/gardeners the difference between a tomato leaf and a tomato stem. Pruning and trellising tasks are intimidating to many of the interns and volunteers and I have found that all seem to need me there for them to prune. It is actually preferable anyway so that we can work together and not have any pruning mishaps.
The transient camp on the corner of the property has become an increasingly large problem. People come and go leaving shopping carts, tarps and trash. Thick burning plastic smoke rolls out of their area from time to time and whenever an emergency service is called they vandalize out facility that night. The city and campus police will not remove them because they are technically on railroad property. One of the vagrants has begun approaching female interns when no males are present and I am increasingly worried for their safety. My own safety is questionable as well, one night after a call to the fire department the pins holding the mower were removed and gone from the tractor.
On top of that the solar fence charger has died and deer are coming in the fence and eating plants.