Abbe Hills Farm CSA

  (Mt. Vernon, Iowa)
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summer vegetables - potatoes and onions. bugs in the cucumbers

Greetings shareholders,
 
This week, we'll have broccoli, cabbage, fresh white onions, cilantro and dill weed, chard, kale and collards, summer squash, green beans, new red potatoes, and garlic.  Next week should be about the same, although the broccoli will be less.  It is summer, after all.
 
I'm discouraged that we're having very bad luck with the crops in the cucumber family.  They are sick, dying, ugly, and very poor yielding.  The summer squash should be burying us right now, but instead, about 3 plants per day are dropping dead for no apparent reason and 30% of the fruits we get are rotten.  Cucumbers barely exist.  Winter squash are still alive but at risk, I believe. 
 
I think it all has something to do with the 10 million cucumber beetles that attacked the plants back when we transplanted them in June.  We treated several times using the most gentle organic treatments first but eventually after 10 days, pulling out the big guns.  Still we barely made a dent in the number of bugs.  Now they have been joined by their evil friends, the stink bugs, and I think the two of them are either eating the roots or transmitting disease in several different plantings of cucurbits and there's about nothing we can do about it. 
 
I am reluctant to do any more insecticide treatments, even though they are organic products, because I don't want to leave any residues on the fruits, but more importantly, I don't want to do anything that might hurt the bees that live here on the farm.  Anything that kills stink bugs and cucumber beetles will also kill bees.  So, the plan is to plant more seeds this week and hope that by the time our 4th and 5th planting of squash and cucumbers is ready to pick, the bugs will have done their business and moved on.  We will be keeping an eye on the winter squash and treating them as needed, but they are still several weeks away from making flowers that will attract bees or fruits that we would eat.
 
Like the onions, the garlic this week will be fresh.  You might want to keep it in the frig.
 
The potatoes are VERY fresh and they have very very tender skin.  They are not washed becuase we don't want to ding up the skin any more than absolutely necessary to get them out of the ground and into your hands.  Wash them off, don't scrub, and eat the skin on these early potatoes.  It is delicious.  Boiled, the browned in a little butter or oil, they are fantastic. 
 
I still have lots of freezer broccoli in the cooler, $1 per pound.  Looks funny, would be great in the winter.
 
Remember to check out Facebook to keep up with the latest farm info during the week. 
 
See you this week,
Laura

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