Wild Things Farm

  (Crab Orchard, Tennessee)
Farm life adventures of the Happy Hoer
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Thank goodness for heirloom beans

You know what?  The best planning sometimes just goes to pot.  I spent a good amount of time planning the green bean harvest so as to not be overwhelmed by beans ready to pick.  Checking seed labels for days to harvest, staggering plantings, etc. 

Well, the best plans don't always work!  Mother Nature decided that four of the varieties of green beans all needed to be harvested at once!  Hellooooo, it's not like I have an army of pickers here.  So, I start picking, and picking, and picking.  The CSA members today got three different varieties of beans and when I went back out this aftenoon, I realized the yellow wax was ready to pick also---arrgggggghhhh! 

The farmer's market in town is tomorrow so I'm picking for that.  This year I tried a purple bean, along with the yellow wax, Romas, and Kentucky Wonder. This morning was CSA delivery day so I had to get that taken care of, but this afternoon was spent in the bean patch.  When the daylight faded into dark I was picking the purple beans.  I thought to myself, "these are hard to see in the dark, maybe I should switch back to the yellow".  Then I thought, "hey, these guys are all open-pollinated, I can save the seeds." 

So, I stood up, surveyed my seed bank, smiled to myself, and went in the house.

M - I - C - K - E - Y

T - o - m - a - to


Well, what else am I supposed to do in the sweltering heat while picking produce?


The Squash Bug Capital of Tennessee

After this spring, I've dubbed Crab Orchard, or at least Wild Things Farm the "squash bug capital of Tennessee".  I practice crop rotation every year, but seems like the bugs have a radar or a spy at my computer looking to see where the squash and cucumbers are going to be planted.  As soon as a seed germinates and comes out of the ground--wham!  It's eaten.  There are times that I've seen a handful of bugs around one plant.

This spring I sprayed rotenone/pyrethrum on the stem and saturated the roots of the plants every 3 or 4 days just until they could get enough size on them to grow, but the challenge of out-smarting these bugs has been, well, bugging me.  To overcome a problem you have to "become the problem".  So I started thinking like a squash bug.  Get to the stem and dig just under the soil, lay eggs and split.  Eggs hatch, become larvae, pierce the stem and crawl inside. 

I'm always looking for creative ways to use leftover things rather than tossing them, so I had this bag of torn up row cover.  I cut the row cover into little squares, about 6" square,

Then I wrapped the stem of my transplants (I started these in the greenhouse under strict supervision) with the reemay squares,

I then covered the reemay with soil and left the stem-wrapped part in its normal position, above ground.  Yes, it's tedious, but spraying so much isn't fun either.   It's only been a couple of days since this was done, but I think unless the bugs bring scissors with them, they might have a problem getting to the spot to lay eggs.  We'll see.


How to wash your favorite garden hat

I'm sure every die-hard gardener has their most very favorite gardening hat.  Mine is a Scala hat, very wide brim, that has perched on my head going on three seasons now.  It's made of palm leaves, but very tightly woven and durable.  Margaret the Mantis ( a pin) guards the hat against insect predators.......

Anyway, I've been noticing that the hat was getting pretty funky looking from sweating in it every day, adjusting it with dirty gloved hands, laying it aside while doing something in the garden that warrants the hat being removed, and just three years of constant use.  I bought a new hat, but it just isn't the same.  Sooooo, I began trying to figure out how to wash the hat without destroying it. 

I sprayed the entire hat with Shout laundry pre-soak, really soaking the sweatband inside and the dirtiest spots on the hat.  I then placed the hat upside down on the top rack of the dishwasher and I put a coffee cup inside it to keep it from moving around in the dishwasher.  I don't have my dishwasher set on  what I call the "nuclear cycle" where the washer heats the water so hot it melts plastic, but if yours is set to destroy plastic items I would suggest putting it on energy saver or whatever cycle cancels the water heater.  I set it on a short wash and it came out really pretty clean.  There is still a very faint spot in the front where sweat soaks through, but now I can once again wear my hat in town without being embarrassed, and Margaret likes it too.



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