Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Unseen Heroes: Organic Farmers

Our CSA farmer has suffered greatly this year from terrible weather (too cold, then floods, then drought, then more floods ...), too few bees because of that cold weather, and now from squash beetles. Hearing about their struggles makes me appreciate the accomplishment it is to get in a good organic crop. Nature is out to get those plants before we do. Here is a sample from a recent update:
As we told some of you at last Saturday's delivery we had to sacrifice the second crop of yellow squash, zucchini, and patty pan because the plague of squash bugs had gotten so bad after working so many hours manually killing them and removing the eggs. The nasty bugs were just about to migrate to the second crop of cantaloupe and watermelons. We could not allow that to happen as the cantaloupes and watermelons look good. The squash bugs ruined our cantaloupe and watermelons one year as we didn't think they would be affected by squash bugs, but found out they will destroy them as well as squash. So we used our propane burner tractor attachment and destroyed them all along with the eggs and nymphs. It took quite a long time and used a full 58 gallon tank of propane, but hopefully we have "stayed the plague" and saved our cantaloupe and watermelons. This is part of growing organic. We could have provided some beautiful squash if we were using conventional methods---just spray them with harmful pesticides, kill all of the bugs, and have squash. However, we are committed to organic only and will continue growing produce accordingly. We will plant a third crop of yellow squash, zucchini, patty pan, butternut, and acorn squash tomorrow. I am sure we didn't kill every squash bug, but I believe 98% of them so hopefully the third crop of all the squash will produce abundantly in the fall.
I must say, though, that the crops we do receive have been the freshest and highest quality I have ever had since my parents' big gardening days. It is definitely worth the trouble.

1 comment:

Class factotum said...

I don't use any pesticides in my garden, but that's mostly because I am so lazy. I think there is some bug that has been attacking my tomatoes - they start to bruise and rot while they are on the vine. So weird.