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Beneficials, Broccoli, and Weeds!

Posted 5/20/2019 7:49pm by Aaron Lichtenberg.

Hello Farm Faithful!

It's been awhile since we've reached out as we've now started the battle with this cold, soggy spring, and we hope you all are doing well and getting ready for summer. We've been quite busy with the planting season and some new projects we'd like to share with you, so we hope you will enjoy the snap-shot of what's going on right now at the farm!

So, pest pressure has already begun in the high tunnel with "Green Peach Aphid". As growers we spend a great deal of time finding ways to not to have to spray, orgainc or not, and the strategy we have recently integrated into our regime includes bringing in "beneficial" insects to target these unwanted new pests. 

Here you see one of the species we've recently released into the tunnel to help battle the aphids on our early spring flowers that were supposed to be ready for Mother's Day. Cold, rainy days, plus aphid pressure thwarted that plan (much to Liz's disappointment!). The Aphidius Colemani (parasitic wasps) can be seen here of the crawling on the bottle and on the leaf in the top right of the photo. These parasitic wasps feed on Green Peach Aphids, as well as other species of aphid..., but we'll share more on that as we'll keep you up to date on the progress in our next newsletter!

Nuisances that pose constant challenges on the farm aren't just insects; they include annual (and perenial) weeds, and we use many strategies to combat these weeds including tarps and timed cultivation (soil disturbance with tools). The perfect time to kill weeds is when they're still young and easy to kill, at what's called the "thread stage". These weeds you see here have been under a tarp for about a week after spreading compost on the beds...they're now very weak from being under the tarp, which we could leave to kill them or cultivate if we need to plant into the beds.

The compost used to top the beds was FULL of weed seeds (and a few other things!), teaching us that all good things come with compromise. Some of that original compost stock came from a diver that removes millfoil from the lake without herbicide...so the "extra items" you see here in this photo came from Lake Winnipesaukee!

Speaking of compromise...a great article came through, from an online newsletter we get from a great resource know as ATTRA, on a study about East Coast produced broccoli.

"...Are buyers willing to forego Quality?"

I find it more than a little troubling, mostly because of their use of the word "quality" throughout the article. However, I believe it to be spot-on regarding how folks get used to "how things are supposed to look".

As most individuals buy produce from the grocery, we local producers find it critical to educate consumers regarding the variability in produce, not just in terms of looks, but also with regards to how we grow different varietals that, although may look different, are every bit as good, if not better! The "quality" difference that the article points out speaks for itself in addressing the challenges of consumer expectations for local producers.

For those of you that are new to our CSA program this year, we look forward to meeting you soon...only a month away from the first shares going out!

Those that have already signed up for a share, thank you so much for joining, and remember that we like to have all balances paid up by the second week of the beginning of the CSA season...Just an FYI, you can always divide up your payment if it's a big check to write, so that you can pay a little now and the rest a month from now.

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And, if you haven't signed up for the 2019 CSA season yet, click here to sign up now...don't forget to check out the Top of the Hill Farm & Wayfarer Coffee Roasters "add on" shares too!

Thanks again to you all and have a great week!

--

Eat well and Be well,
Aaron & Liz Lichtenberg
Owners
Winnipesaukee Woods Farm
Alton Bay, NH

winniwoodsfarm.com

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