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Posts Tagged ‘squash vine borer’

The big excitement on the farm recently has been the discovery of a Fox Snake nesting site. We estimate there are 100 eggs laid by 8-10 adult female Fox Snakes in one location. Fox Snakes are Endangered with 70% of their population in Ontario. Luckily for us, and them, they are very common on our farm, and it pleases us greatly to know that we have been providing them with the right conditions to mate, hatch, feed, and overwinter.

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Photo of newly hatched Fox Snakes by Andrea Nickerson

August in our Family Garden has been more munching on veggies, and weeding, and watering (such a dry Summer, with every Rain Storm passing over our farm), rather than picture taking. Also, family adventures off the farm. Here are some shots of various Summer Squash with interesting shapes and colours. All photos by rashel t.

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One of the only Winter Squashes to produce any fruit – a Delicata – but we’re only going to get 2 Squash from a number of plants.

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The pest pressure on Summer Squash (Zucchini etc), Winter Squash, Pumpkins, and Melons has been the worst in recent memory. Between Cucumber Beetles who eat and destroy blossoms before the plant can set fruit and the Squash Vine Borer ….. these plants didn’t have a chance. Thankfully we didn’t grow them counting on them for food. They were planted in troublesome spots to help control Thistles (which they’ve done) and in areas with fresh compost (where other plants wouldn’t grow), so they have served their purpose. Still, it’s not easy to see them decimated by high insect populations, despite our efforts to control their numbers.

Below are the eggs of the Squash Vine Borer, usually laid on the underside of a leaf.

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Adolescent Squash Vine Borers.

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These aren’t the adults who bore in to the vines and kill the plants but they do grow up to be them. The adults resemble moths or hornets and they are pleasant to look at to watch …. if you don’t know who they are.

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A big downside of using any kind of plastic in agriculture is having to dispose of it. There are pros and cons to any method of agriculture and we continually strive to make more sustainable and ecological choices. We buy more expensive plastic so that it can be used for several seasons (and a surprise benefit is that it creates habitat for moles, voles, and snakes) but there are weed pressure issues that still need to be worked out. And when it comes time to remove the plastic …. well … we start to search for alternatives. We got together a large group of young people to have a “party” to remove most of the plastic. Their highlights were the creatures they found.

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Highlights of farmer Andrea’s Veggie-Table this month …aug 1 promo.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colourful Carrots.20626927_911678987424_1840938460693547923_oThe first of the Heirloom Tomatoes.20643276_911679057284_8019747055134273626_oPlum Trees that finally produced a bumper crop were a wonderful surprise!August 23 promo.jpgSpicy Salad Mix.21106535_1424229367697746_7177734924980830587_n.jpgColourful Tomatoes.21151676_1424229361031080_927617431668031181_n

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Summer’s almost over! Some of us are happy about and others of us are not. May the veggies continue to be plentiful for all!

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We’re often asked why we grow such a diversity of colours and if the colourful veggies taste the same as “regular” ones. Well…there are many reasons we grow colourful vegetables! You can’t deny that the pop of colour pleases the eye as well as the palate but growing a variety of colours also makes for better growing conditions (most of the time). Take Kale for instance….the “regular” green curled Kale is the slowest growing and least productive of all of the 10 or so varieties we’ve grown and the non-green Kales aren’t a tasty treat for the White Cabbage Moth’s Caterpillars that decimates crops so quickly (and requires an investment in insect netting as well as regular applications of organic pest controls, which has it’s downsides even in organic/ecological farming). As seen here…you’ll understand why we haven’t had Kale available for a couple of weeks now….

Skeletonized Kale (yes, we made that word up).

Skeletonized Kale (yes, we made that word up).

This is also why we grow Red Cabbage vs Green Cabbage – to fool the Cabbage Moths. Sometimes a crop that is colourful is just more productive, take Dragon Beans for example, they produce Beans over the whole season instead of the 2 pickings you get from green or yellow Beans, and they are tastier! Purple Peppers are the first to ripen. Yellow Cucumbers like Poona Kheera and Lemon are more resistant to the diseases that plague Cukes and they are more productive. Colourful Tomatoes are more flavourful but also give a diversity of flavours when you’re snaking on our Candy Cherry Tomatoes. The more colourful the veggie the more diverse the vitamins and minerals and the healthier they are. And of course….I cannot resist anything that is purple but everyone already knows that, hahaha.

Double Dragon Carrot, Dragon Beans, Brocco-flower, Heirloom Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers.

Double Dragon Carrot, Dragon Beans, Brocco-flower, Heirloom Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers.

Sometimes we grow colourful and strange vegetables in order to try and find a couple of varieties that will produce and withstand tough conditions like the Squash Vine Borer, Downy Mildew, Powdery Mildew and more that plague Squashes (we haven’t been very successful so far but there are many more varieties to try)….

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‘Winter Sweet’, ‘Spaghetti’, ‘Delicata’ + ‘Sweet Mama’, Squash Vine Borer

On a happier note we have seen Squash Bees around….no pic but here’s a link for more info on this native pollinators.

We’re curing our pumpkins and squash right now but you will see some of the varieties that aren’t good for storage in the coming weeks. Spaghetti Squash has many uses – cooked or raw. For fun, Why Is Squash Called Squash.

This week’s pick list includes but varies depending upon location …..

  •  Our Salad is thriving again and we’ve got plenty of delicious Salad Mix
  • We’ve picked the last of the Kohlrabi and the Cucumbers have almost seen the end of their days as well
  • Some of you have already seen the Broccoflower and others will see it this week while supplies last
  • The Sweet Peppers aren’t at peak yet but are starting to come on strong, much to my delight! I love the little Snacking ‘Lunchbox’ Peppers (last season’s post on them) and like last season I cannot stop eating them!
  • We have limited amounts of hot peppers and okra for those who are interested
  • Chinese Eggplant
  • Garlic and Onions (Onion supplies are running low so stock up now if you want some for the Fall and Winter)
  • limited amounts of Scallions will be ready again
  • new this week is the long awaited Dragon Beans, included in a mix with Cherokee Trail of Tears and Rattlesnake Pole Beans
  • Our Heirloom Tomatoes and Candy Tomatoes are still going strong. If you want to use up some of your remaining credit we are still taking orders for bushel baskets (must be ordered in advance) – $25 per 20+lb basket. It’s also super easy to make sun-dried Tomatoes using the Candies – just slice once and put in a dehydrator. Here’s a great recipe using Sun-dried Tomatoes. Some raw food recipes using Tomatoes, and a plethora of recipes using a multitude of veggies at once!
  • Also new this week…Hakurei Turnips! After hearing other CSA’s rave about these I had to try them this year! They’re like a sweet Radish or a juicy Turnip – both and neither at the same time – with leaves that taste just like a mildly spicy lettuce mix we grow. Here are some recipe ideas (if you don’t eat them raw like I do) – The Better Turnip, Salad Turnips, Pickled Harukei Turnips.

10339569_820975638023125_7573863776127053480_n* We’ve always got a variety of fresh herbs for sale, too, and if you don’t think you’ll use them fresh just string them up and let them dry so you can use them when needed all year long. Thyme, Oregano, Basil, Rosemary, and Sage.

Tyler from Union Herbs getting your fresh herbs ready for market!

Tyler from Union Herbs getting your fresh herbs ready for market!

From the “what you missed on Facebook” this week file….

From chef Ben at The Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast - "I split the fennel down the seam but left the core so that the strands can stay together, like a cabbage, and I grilled it with some olive oil, salt and pepper over extremely high heat. Served it with a roasted chicken basted in butter that was whipped with the fennel fronds. Roasted the tomatoes whole and made a chutney to serve with the chicken."

From chef Ben at The Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast – “I split the fennel down the seam but left the core so that the strands can stay together, like a cabbage, and I grilled it with some olive oil, salt and pepper over extremely high heat. Served it with a roasted chicken basted in butter that was whipped with the fennel fronds. Roasted the tomatoes whole and made a chutney to serve with the chicken.”

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#workperks Farm friend and employee Andrea has been busy turning Tomatoes into sauce, paste, salsa, ketchup, and sun-dried tomatoes.

At the new ShopEco location at 1645 Wyandotte with Envy Boutique.

At the new ShopEco location at 1645 Wyandotte with Envy Boutique.

Our market offerings at the Belle River Farmers Market on Sundays.

Our market offerings at the Belle River Farmers Market on Sundays.

Coming soon from our experimental strawbale bed (with thanks to farm friend Siobhan for the idea!)….

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Tomatillos

The weather sure can be hard on the soil….

11889704_819390608181628_8194545194329195189_nTill next time!

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We are at Week 10 – the halfway point, the middle – we are betwixt and between. To celebrate we’ve added up everyone’s total credit used so far this season, feel free to check in to see where you’re at. 🙂

An important note for members who pick up at ShopEco! Pickup will be at their NEW location this Tuesday August 18th – located at 1645 Wyandotte St E (with Envy Boutique). To reach the parking lot, just turn down Windermere, and then make a right at the little alleyway. The parking spaces for Envy and ShopEco are the first five spaces right outside the shop. ShopEco will NOT be open this Tuesday as they are moving but will re-open on Wednesday August 19th.

11112481_799600493493973_7599578116448054026_oOur Kale has been hit hard by little green caterpillars who somehow got under the insect netting and hatched out by the hundreds and have decimated the crop. We’re giving the Kale a break but will have more next week along with some delicious new recipes to try.

There are some caterpillars we don’t mind seeing…..We shared pics of Swallowtail caterpillars in with the Dill but now we are finding them in with the Fennel….Love these creatures!

fennel swallowtailNew this week is Fennel!

fennelSome recipes for Fennel….

From chef Dan at the Beacon Alehouse in Amherstburg: Apple Fennel Slaw, it’s great with pork dishes or a salad. I got a sample of this and it was awesome!

3 apples, shredded or mandolined

1 Fennel bulb, shredded

1/2 tbsp fresh cracked pepper

1 Garlic clover, minced

1/3 cup of oil

3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar (or malt vinegar)

Mix all ingredients together

We’ll have more chef recipes for Fennel next week but keep an eye on our Facebook page for more yummy ways to eat this unique veggie!

Other recipe ideas can be found on allrecipes.com, Canadian Living, Fennel Zucchini Tomato Soup, and if you’re adventurous on Martha Stewart’s website.

In limited quantities this week we have…..

Inter-varietal Carrot Love

Inter-varietal Carrot Love

bunching carrotsOn the pick list this week (will vary from location to location):

Rainbow Carrots

Heirloom Tomatoes

Wild Rainbow Salad Mix

Pea Shoots + Parsley

a variety of Herbs – Basil, Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage

Fennel

Garlic and Onions

Field Cucumbers

Sweet Peppers, Hot Peppers, Okra, Eggplant

Cabbage – Red, Chinese.

Delicata Squash

We may even see some early Cauliflower! We never know what surprises lurk…..

Kohlrabi

Cool Kohlrabi

Cool Kohlrabi

We had to pick most of our Squash and Pumpkins this week due to the Squash Vine Borer and it’s now curing for later use. More on that next week but at least the chickens got some good treats! Speaking of chickens…..some new chicks came this week and we discovered something sweet and cute with our broody mom and her wee ones ….

Broody mama has 4 chicks and they sleep like this every night - 2 under her wings, 1 underneath her, and 1 on top.

Broody mama has 4 chicks and they sleep like this every night – 2 under her wings, 1 underneath her, and 1 on top.

Time to sign off and get some rest in preparation for the Belle River Farmers Market tomorrow and another busy farm week ahead – can’t wait to hear what you’ve all been cooking up this week!

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Summer Squash from Left to Right – Deema Hybrid from Dam Seeds; Dunja from Johnny’s Seeds; Baby Tiger Hybrid from Dam Seeds; G-Star (larger green one) from Dam Seeds; Y-Star (yellow one with green end) from Dam Seeds; Sunburst from Dam Seeds.

Missing from the picture – Zephyr F1 from Johnny’s Seeds and Yellow Crookneck from Johnny’s Seeds.

There is such a large, colourful, sweet, and creamy variety of Summer Squash that we couldn’t resist ordering, almost, all of them.

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These unidentified Native Bees are busy Pollinating more Blossoms for us!

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Our favourite way to eat them? When young, raw. They are super sweet and delish!

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