Early Monday I went out to the vegetable field to make up a work list for the week. This year’s garlic crop is set directly across from the field entrance and the first thing that I come upon. Every day I expect to see scapes shooting up and starting their curly cue. With the bunching onions behind schedule, and the winter alliums soft beyond palatability, I’ve been extra eager for the tasty scapes to arrive. The first 20 or so feet of garlic was so heavily damaged that I could see a problem just walking across the headlands. It looked at first like sawdust from some soft, green wood had been sprinkled liberally over the plants, then the tender, inside leaves came into focus, with their chewed up edges and gnarled tops.
I dug around long enough to find a pale yellowish larva snacking away deep in the fold of the inside-most leaves. I assumed that this was the leek moth that we were warned about all last year, a relatively new but spreading invasive in the US. There’s not much you can do, other than carefully digging out the larva from the leaves of the garlic, onions and leeks. A time-sucking project that had three of us working most of the day, examining each plant individually and trying to extricate the sneaky larva without causing too much additional damage to the tender leaves.
I’m not certain yet how this will affect the scape or bulb formation, we will know soon though. The onions have been less effected than the garlic so far and the leeks appear to be completely free of the pest at this point. We will keep monitoring to stay ahead of the larva eating, and checking for the lacey-mesh cocoons that new moths will emerge from to lay a fresh round of eggs mid-summer.
The Bank Barn
In brighter news we put in two sunny, dry days on the bank barn this week, siding and getting two coats of paint on the northern face. Work is ongoing today, between passing showers, putting siding on the south side. Rainy spells mean work on the inside though. The hay mow floor is half-way in. We are planning on storing hay in this barn finally, taking a lot of stress and pressure off of the cow barn across the road. A structure than can barely manage to hold itself up, let along thousands of pounds in additional weight.
In the Farm Shares
In the veggie share: Kale, chard, bunching onions, spinach, asparagus, head lettuce, mesclun mix, lettuce mix, asian cabbages, radishes, arugula, beet greens, potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, celeriac, wheat berries, whole wheat flour and dry beans.
In the meat share: Fresh broiler chickens this week, pork and beef in the freezer. Lard and leaf lard are available. James will be demonstrating how to part a whole chicken at the share tonight, have your chicken prepped and get some good tips on how to make the job easy.
- Full and By Farm: Monthly Farm Tours (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Full and By Farm: Frozen on the Farm (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Full and By Farm: Spring Greens (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Full and By Farm: Dreaming of Spring (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Full and By Farm: Grateful Spring Showers (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Full and By Farm: Sprouts (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)