Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Heat and rain - it has been downright tropical and this would have been the year to grow papayas and mangoes. :) Instead we'll have to settle for our homegrown tomatoes that we have been enjoying for a week or so. They have such a sweet and rich flavor. I have always said that our vegetables taste like fruit, and our fruit? Well - oh, but I said I wouldn't go on any more strawberry rants! (They did taste like ambrosia!)

The rain and heat is helping the vegetables to grow, but the weeds are happily growing as well. We have been cultivating nonstop it seems. Along with the weeds, certain insect populations have exploded. Many of you who garden know about the flea beetles in the early spring. Some of those little buggers are still hanging around. There are no great treatments for flea beetles that I know of. A lot of organic practices depend on timing. In the spring, if we can protect the vulnerable plants until they are big enough to resist decimation by these voracious little beetles, then we can accept a few chewed leaves on each plant. So keeping the plants healthy by creating a healthy soil, and using manual methods of protection (row covers) at vulnerable times will usually bring a crop home without resorting to stronger methods.

We do use some organically accepted insecticides that are botanically based, but we try to rely on a watchful eye, good timing, and benign technology in order to coexist with the fascinating and fecund insect world. We're willing to share a bit of our crop in exchange for the privilege of working within nature rather than outside or against it.


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