Despite the new fence charger some deer are entering the farm anyway. Some may be slipping under the wire and others seem to have just jumped right through the wires, bringing one side of the fence down for a night. Plants that were recovering are now eaten down again, the pumpkins have all been eaten down at least once and have not even gotten big enough to vine. The director is going to have me till them in and plant cover crops since we can’t keep them alive.
Cucumber beetles have killed most of the cucumber plants by infecting them with bacterial wilt. I also learned this year that cucumber beetle larvae live in the soil and eat cucumber roots further damaging plants. Through course work I have learned that soil drenches of entomopathogenic fungi or bacteria such as pyrethrin can kill cucumber beetle larvae in soils. For another treatment a beneficial nematode can be purchased and watered into soils but the timing needs to be correct for the nematodes to be able to meet the host pest and complete it’s life cycle to be effective. In coming seasons I will be able to design a much better management system for several key pests.
Speaking of terms and concepts that are new and important to me, key pests are among them. A key pest is one that requires yearly treatment to protect crops from damage and loss. An example of a key pest is the cucumber beetle. Every year they will arrive and damage cucurbit crops. A non key pest would be one that does’t appear every season and or does not always require treatment actions to control or to prevent economic loss.
All the cabbages on the farm are finally harvested. For such a hot season we were able to harvest cabbages very late with very few pests. Garlic is also out of the field and hanging to dry. Onions have all been dried, cleaned and sell very well at the bi-weekly farm stand. Tomatoes are almost ripe and peppers are just starting to form.