As the years go by I would like to think that I am learning a couple things to make life easier and more efficient. A huge component to that equation is having access to the proper equipment. I wrote about a month ago that Kevin and I fertilized the 1/2 acre with a 100gl water tank, carrying 5gl buckets of sloshy fish emulsion down each 180ft bed, pouring a qt on each plant. Let me reiterate again if I didn’t make myself clear the first time ……… it SUCKED! It took us about 1 1/2 days and Kevin and I left work with horrible back aches and smelling of fishy nastiness. You can imagine my disappointment when it came time to fertilize again. This time however, Zack was kind enough to let us use the injector. This little device was AMAZING! We fertilized the entire 1/2 acre in approximately 15 mins, saving labor and $$$.
I spoke of the new damage to our tomatoes last week and how Rick came down and took a sample to the plant pathology dept. I got the results at the end of last week saying it was bacterial spot. This was sort of good news and also bad news. The good was that it was not damage that we were causing to the plants by any spray applications (copper). The bad, obviously, is that not only is the bacterial spot worsening but the copper we are spraying twice a week does not seem to be helping. I am always amazed at the progression from one day to the next. Things can be under control over the weekend and within a matter of days a crop can take a turn for the worse. Unfortunately, every one I have talked to this year has said this is a REALLY bad year for tomatoes. With all the rain and the temperatures
getting down to the 50s at night, it is not conducive to growing a successful crop. What I was afraid of happened. Since the tomatoes had fruit on them and we were unable to control the BLS, most of the fruit on the plants have scabs on them. We fertilized last week and they seem to look better on the top. My plan of action is to fertilize once a week now and see if we can’t outrun the disease. Fingers crossed!
I planted spinach last week as part of the preparation for fall crops and school starting. I am planning on succession planting every two weeks with my goal being to have a continuous supply of this green available to sell in the fall. I mentioned the importance of tools and equipment earlier. As I was making my rows with a diamond hoe and preparing to measure every 6″, Michael Douglas came by and asked why I wasn’t using the seeder. I had never used one before and he was kind enough to give me a lesson. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! It took probably two hours off my day and also saved me from over using seed. I am very conscious this year of how much seed I am using because it is expensive. In the past I just thinned the bed after it was planted but there is a lot of seed that is wasted using that method. This seeder has a size disc and depending on the seed size drops three seeds at a time. It makes a furrow as you push it down the bed and covers as it moves along. It seemed like a really sweet deal as I was using it but we shall truly see when the crop starts to emerge through the soil.
We had a giant green bean harvest at the end of last week, pulling approximately 133#s from 3 x 180ft beds. I really like growing this crop because it is always successful with very little work. Other than the cutworm problem we had at the beginning of the year, we have not had to give them much attention…… until harvest! The downside to growing green beans is that it is a very tedious, long harvest. Luckily, I roped some very friendly girls into helping me with a sad face and the promise of pretty much anything they wanted. 🙂 Thank you thank you Hannah and Shelby! If it weren’t for you I would probably still be picking green beans this very minute.
The head lettuce transplants are huge and I brought them outside today to start hardening off. I am so excited to get them in the ground at the end of this week!
Despite this incredibly weird cooler weather, I found our first ripe big tomato (Pink Wonder)! It was so glorious and somehow, by a complete miracle, it had not been touched by the bacterial spot. I couldn’t believe it. Maybe it is a sign that everything will turn around and we will end up having a magnificent harvest of tomatoes. One can dream… 🙂