While we await the arrival of the fall crops, we have another summer Whole Farm basket: two Ichiban eggplant, 0.5 lb okra, 0.5 lb peppers, and 0.5 lb Virginia peanuts.
The fall planting is all but complete! More cherry belle, pink beauty, and watermelon radishes; purple top, scarlet queen, and Hakurei turnips; and several varieties of carrots were planted this weekend.
Fall is barely underway, and already we can say: what a fall it has been. We received our first rain in three weeks overnight, and I woke up like a kid on Christmas, so excited to check the rain gauge to find out how much the storm brought us. A half of one-tenth of an inch! Sigh. Oh well, we’ll take it.
We can combat the dry conditions with irrigation, so lack of rain has not been our biggest problem. Unfortunately, the irrigation itself is something of a problem. Our garden and field, and the plants and soil in them, stand out as a literal oasis among so much land that is so dry. Deer and armadillos have been drawn in, and don’t mind taking advantage of a lush broccoli stem, or rooting around in the moist soil of a newly seeded row of turnips for a particularly scrumptious grub.
Another kind of pest, the whitefly, has also been wreaking havoc in the fall garden. Whiteflies flourish in hot, dry conditions like we’ve had the past couple months. Like aphids, they are sap-sucking insects that weaken their host and make them susceptible to disease. We lost our fall squash and zucchini to these tiny insects, and we’ve been hearing from other farmers, organic and not, that they’ve never seen whiteflies in numbers like this year.
Have you noticed a common thread? Some rain would go a long way to lessening the severity of the issues facing our fall garden. Until then, we’ll keep the irrigation on, and keep everything under the protection of the crop-saving floating row covers I’ve gushed about in the past. All in hope of being able to grow some delicious fall greens and root vegetables!