- Green Beans
- Head Lettuce
- Summer Squash
- Collard Greens
- Green Peppers
- Sweet Onions
We are back with our normal newsletter this week! Last Monday, the day that we ordinarily do the CSA harvest, we discovered a small disaster in the works at our greenhouse. When we went to check on our next round of plants, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and our fall and overwintering cabbages, we found a dense swarm of flea beetles engulfing our entire greenhouse, devouring all of our tender little plants. Flea beetles, if you’re not familiar, are one of the most damaging pests for vegetable crops. These tiny, crucifer-loving beetles are responsible for the small, shotgun patterned holes in your kale. In small number, these beetles are only aesthetically harmful. But in dense swarms, like we found in our greenhouse that day, they can massacre an entire planting within a few hours.
The cause of this phenomenon, as we suspected, was the activity of one of our neighboring farmers. With a little searching, we found what we had expected. Two fields, at least a hundred acres each, tucked out of sight on the back side of a hill within a quarter mile of our greenhouse on which the farmers were combining mustard seed. These fields of mustards, being the favorite food of the flea beetle and being huge mono-crops, planted on an almost completely denuded landscape with no habitat for beneficial insects, probably contained millions—if not billions—of flea beetles. Once the swaths were cut, and the combines began moving in, battering, thrashing, and shaking the plants on which these little bugs were feasting, some thousands of them decided the party was over and began searching for more hospitable surroundings.
When we saw what was taking place, we quickly began hauling the survivors out and away from the greenhouse to our home a half-mile away thinking, correctly, that the beetles wouldn’t venture that far. Instead of harvesting that day, we immediately began re-sowing new flats of the vegetables that were devoured with the seed that we had, and began re-ordering the seeds of which we did not have extra lying around. Those plantings are looking better than the first, and it looks like we caught it in time.
Thus a crisis was averted, a potentially huge disaster was turned into a small one, and we were reminded once again how vulnerable we are to our environment and therefore how important diligence is in our work.
We hope you enjoy this week’s vegetables.