Tag Archives: farm

THE CASE OF THE SICK CUCUMBERS

Something got to our cucumber plants. We hired a private detective garden gnome to solve the mystery, but he is falling short of expectations. We had a suspicion the perpetrator was a bug, but our detective said the evidence is still in the lab.

Since we are now in the hottest time of the year, not much is wanting to grow anymore, but we would at least like them to have the option, if they feel so inclined. This cucumber stopped growing about a month ago.

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At first, we blamed this bug. Its black. Its red. Kinda evil looking. We have since learned that it is actually a lady bug larvae, which hasn’t formed its more eye-pleasing lady body.

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The plant would grow leaves and flowers, but then they would crinkle up and die. We grew these cucumbers from little baby seeds, so it was heartbreaking to watch them suffer.

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Not ones to stand idly by, we went rouge and did some inspecting of our own. Here is our evidence:

  • Mottled leaves
  • Deformed leaves and flowers
  • Deformed and discolored cucumbers

From the data, we deduce that the attacker was (maybe): Thrips

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Thrips are tiny bugs that feed on flowers and vegetables, causing discoloration, deformities, and disease spread. They are also one of the fastest growing invasive species groups, gaining strength from our plants on their path to world domination.

And with that, our dreams of pickles lay shattered on the floor like glass jars. Stay tuned for a follow-up post where we bag up our broken dreams and dead plants, and prepare to start anew.

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WEED REMOVAL, VOL. 2

If you aren’t feeling up to the work-out of pulling weeds with your muscles, we turn to our handy spray bottle. Since our goal is to always stay cool and organic, our reusable spray bottle is filled with 20% vinegar, which you can get at garden stores, or pretty much anywhere.

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So the strategy here is to spray the weeds. We douse them in vinegar. One of the drawbacks here is that it works best and quickest at the hottest part of the day. You can hear them sizzle in the sun.

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If you have a large patch of weeds, be sure to take a break for fresh air, and not spray into the wind. That vinegar is nasty stuff in the eyes. After they are good and sprayed, then comes the waiting.

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In a couple hours or a longer length of time, the weeds turn pale and crispy. They will be much weaker and easier to pull up now, or will eventually disintegrate into nothing, if you are being super lazy about it.

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Just be careful where you spray. Vinegar only knows how to kill. It doesn’t care what. So if you spray a flower, it will do the same thing to it as a weed. We use a piece of cardboard as a shield if we are spraying around plants.

Spraying weeds sounds like the easier way out, but being out in the afternoon summer sun, combined with the real fear of getting a cramped trigger finger, and mixed with the impatience of waiting until the plants die, can make it just as hard. Weeding is just hard. Weeds are sorry not sorry about it.

WEED REMOVAL, VOL. 1

The enemies are among us. Since we know how to identify the impostors, we can start the business of eradicating them. Reminiscent of Helena on Orphan Black.

There are many different ways to get rid of weeds. Today we’ll talk about one of the more obvious ways- pulling them out of the ground with your hands.

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Here is a weed growing in some rocks. We don’t want it to grow there, so let’s get rid of it.

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When pulling a weed out of the ground, you need to locate its main root, the one that is attaching it to the ground and bankrolling its life.

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Grasp it at the root base firmly, and then finagle it out of the ground. The goal is to get as much of the root as possible.

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Be sure to try to get as much of the roots as possible. If you just get the peripheral leaves and appendages, you are just pruning it, and it can still continue to grow.

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It is sometimes easier to weed without gloves, because you can get a better grip. Weeding by hand is good if you are weeding around other plants, or if you want the plant gone immediately. Its also good if you feel like tearing something to shreds. It does require a bit of time and muscle, but think of it as a good workout.

Weeding by hand is instant gratification. The weed is now gone, and depending on how much of the roots were removed, will not return to pester you again. Don’t worry though. Another one will pop up somewhere to laugh at you soon.

IDENTIFYING WEEDS

Weeding. Not always fun, but ya gotta do it. For some farmers, weeding is therapeutic time. Get out your aggression by pulling stuff out of the ground. For others, its one of those boring chores. Its hot outside, and there are a million weeds, and you couldn’t possibly pick them all. Let us say to both of you types of farmers- don’t let the weeds win! You are bigger than them!

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First, let’s learn how to identify weeds. We ask these questions when trying to decide if something is a weed:

  • Do I want you to grow there?
  • Do I like you?
  • Are you trying to ruin my life?

So let’s go through some examples. We’ll start with an easy one.

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If you said weed, you are right! It’s clearly growing there to spite us, so we would do away with him.

What about these?

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We definitely didn’t plant random spurts of grass in the mulch, so they are weeds and need to die.

These are a little harder.

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Since we remember planting these things in these particular spots, they are not weeds. We like them, and want them to grow there.

One more and you are an expert.

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This is a trick one. Here we have grass (which we want to live) growing into the mulch (which we want to stay just mulch). Those that think they can grow in the mulch must be stopped before they become too powerful.

You have the knowledge now. Seek and destroy.

And if you are opposed to just casting the pulled weeds to the side, you could always make a salad with them.