It has been a cool week on the farm, not in the way of weather, but lots of activity! In the vineyard, the grape shoots have emerged on the vines and there are many grape flower clusters! This doesn’t guarantee a big harvest, it just shows me that my technique for pruning was successful. Pruning grapes when they are dormant, or look dead in winter, is such an act of faith. I am sure the more I
prune, the more confident I will be. But for now, when I see the grape flower clusters, I am greatly relieved that they are off to a great start!
On my hand, I have a ladybug larva, which looks like an alligator. The larva look like alligators before they
pupate to the adult stage, (round red and black spots) which is much more familiar to most people.
The spinach were transplanted in October and were covered with row cover, which protected them during the winter. When the weather started to get above freezing this spring, these spinach started to grow, but they had been really stressed during the winter and had attracted white fly and aphids, ( bad bugs.) I left them alone, not willing to pull out plants that had survived -11 degrees and that were struggling. I was sure they would pull out of it and give me a great early harvest. I also knew the aphids would not move over onto the lettuce I planted because the lettuce was vigorous and healthy and bugs attack sick or stressed plants, at least I hoped they wouldn’t. And, sure enough, there has been a lot of really green growth on the spinach these last 3 weeks , the aphid are nowhere to be found, ( they are not on the lettuce!) and there are alligators crawling all over the spinach. It would be safe to assume the good bugs ate the bad ones. Sometimes just waiting does have it’s rewards!
This picture shows another of the deer repellent plants in the farmscape. This one is an allium, it is a bulb, and it is a relative of onions and garlic. This one smells like onions and the deer don’t like that.
alliums give off enough odor that the deer don’t find the tulips. I haven’t seen any deer tracks and all tulips are accounted for in the flower beds! Sorry deer, no candy this spring.
This picture shows the lettuce growing in the greenhouse in one of our towers. I can get an earlier start in the greenhouse by transplanting lettuce and other greens into these pots that stack 6 on top of each other. This
lettuce is a Deer’s Tongue that is sweet and crisp. The leaves come to a point and have good flavor. I can get 36 plants in a 4′ x 4′ space. by picking the outer leaves 2 times per week, 3-4 towers gives plenty of lettuce for our farm crafted salads being served here on the farm. More about some other lettuces next week.
Thanks for letting me share about the unique aspects of farming here in Missouri!