Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

Tomatoes on the vine and more news from Grow And Share in Bunn NC

Well, things at the Bunn Sharing Garden are popping! The flowers on the tomatoes and tomatillos have made way for tomatoes hanging on the plants. We're hopeful tomatillos will soon follow.

Tomatoes hanging despite the Colorado Potato Beetles that attacked! We attacked back today with some Bonide chemicals (one of the better, hopefully less toxic ones) and hand-removal of the larva from the plants. Disappointed we couldn't find a way to stay organic... we'll have better info to be organic next year!

We also saw some flowers coming up on the Hatch's chile peppers.

Okra, cucumbers, watermelons, peas (many rows), beans (several types), cantaloupe, summer squash, zucchini, and more are growing taller and taller in the garden. We put some good fertilizer on the 2 acres today; a suggested 10-10-10 plus extra minerals including iron.

Mr. Groundhog continues snacking on plants, but a small percentage have been harmed... and the good news is that the plants he nibbled are growing new leaves. We're hopeful that many of them will recover.

So.... anyway, with tomatoes on the plants and flowers spreading, we are hopeful we are on track to start giving food away (free to all comers and food banks) by the middle of June.

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Comment by Mitch Amiano on June 13, 2009 at 11:04am
Frank, Kay,

Consider using insecticidal soap (products include Safer's) on the plants while the beetle grubs are still small. A stronger solution mixed with a couple of tablespoons of ethyl alcohol may be more effective on them. In my experience the older bugs are pretty tough, and the larvae continue hatching and appearing for many days after you think you killed the infestation, at least on potatoes. I don't think BT dust works on the larvae, though it is nice to have around to keep mosquitoes out of barrels and caterpillars off the parsley.

Be careful about Mr. Groundhog. Next spring you may find he married and had babies. At that point it will look like a small nuclear device went off in the vicinity, and your feelings of tolerance will turn to horror, desperation, and rage ;-) Others have noted that the a good defense is to bury steel fencing and use a combination of floppy deer fence with steel fence above ground, maybe with an electrified wire. This is probably advisable to plan for a serious production garden.

You can plant also plant things the groundhogs really enjoy, like parsley root, not as a deterrent but as a distraction for them. The stuff grows easily here and can be broadcast into trails leading away from your main plantings. In an emergency case to distract them, groundhogs like dog food too.

But we had dogs on farms for a reason! A groundhog is the equivalent of a stuffed chewing toy to a good working-breed hound. Years ago my Elkhound mutt used to kill a couple of the pests every month in spring and summer when they tried to raid his food dish.


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