Potato Seed Mafia
Heat is still on…so is the irrigation – all the time! It is definitely a transitional time on the farm, where the first crops are coming out and either fall crops are going in or buckwheat and then a winter wheat will be planted.
There is still time for planting fall crops. This week at the farm, the team is planting fall peas, seeding napa cabbages and pac choi. Also they will be potting up their fall kale. For those of you who are seeding in trays at this time of year and potting up brassicas, because it is so hot, and the cabbage moth is out in full flight, you will have to water a couple times a day and definitely remay. The farm’s shade house is pretty much the best invention ever.
A friend of James came to the farm today and diagnosed that we have a small case of late blight in our potatoes. Both early and late blight are fungal diseases. The surrounding community plots also have both potato blight and tomato blight, so we have to be super careful. James is going to do a copper spray to slow down the spread as it is still so minor on the Sharing Farm fields.
Outdoor tomatoes often get late blight as the rains and heavy dews come in the fall. Any infected blight matter should not go into the compost as blight can overwinter on diseased plant material and tubers….either the hole of death or burned or bagged. Crop rotation and using certified disease free potato seed can help prevent blight. All tubers need to be up-earthed, and the diseased tubers need to be destroyed. Gives you some idea why the big scale seed potato growers are so scared to have other folks growing solanacea anywhere near them. They aren’t called the Potato seed mafia for no reason….if you aren’t following strict disease management you will be run out of town….true story!
The leeks also have rust. Rust was happily flourishing in June when it was hot and wet, now its hot and dry, with overhead watering. Overhead watering has its benefits for sure, however, one drawback is that it can create conditions for some of the diseases like rust and powdery mildew. But we have to irrigate – so if it is overhead, it is best done in the morning, so it has a chance to dry off during the day. Ideally, it is best to work towards drip irrigation for water conservation, weed and disease mgmt and germination.
Terra Nova is anticipating they will need help thinning carrots, potting up, and also we have a bit more planting to do for the winter plant sale. The Orchard needs help with watering, weeding, mulching and feeding.
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