As usual we had a lot to do this past week and though we did a lot of needed work there was much more to do than we were able to get done. Aerron concentrated on seeding and transplanting while I mostly did weeding and potato patch maintenance, though Aerron used the horses to cultivate areas of the garden and put the disc hillers on the cultivator to do the potato rows. My job in the potatoes has been to regularly (daily if possible) walk the rows looking for potato beetles, their eggs and the larva. I have been doing this for several weeks, almost daily, and have squashed many beetles and a very few egg masses but until yesterday I had seen no larva. Yesterday however something like a dozen or more plants had grubs on them which were carefully handpicked into a bucket of water. This was done on the ten northmost rows, eight of the rows from the south end were checked the previous day and only a few beetles were found. The north end had not been checked for at least four days so we had allowed a build up to occur. The grubs were small and the damage was slight so we have been lucky. I’ll have to try to walk the full nineteen rows today to make sure we keep ahead of them until our friends, the Spined Soldier Beetle (Perillus bioculatus) and other beneficial predatory insects are around in enough numbers to take care of our potato beetle problem.
The weather has been alright for us, enough moisture to keep things going well, temperatures a little on the cool side, especially at night, but overall we are doing ok weatherwise. The vegetable garden is however far behind where it should be for this time of the year, some things seem to be growing so painfully slow while a few other vegetables are growing really well. We are getting very close to having a few items ready for harvest and so the start of our CSA season and if we have enough, ready for the start of our Brantford Farmers Market season. The extra heat predicted for the next few days will be very good for those cucurbit vegetables, cucumbers, summer and winter squashes, pumpkins, sweet corn, all the other Zea maize that we plant and for pepper, eggplant, tomato etc. Everything will benefit from a spell of extra heat.
Haying time is here. But we have not been able to do any as there has not been a long enough dry period, we need something like 5 days free of the threat of rain. Cut the first day, dry for probably three full days, after cutting then bale on the third or fourth day. It will likely take us four afternoons to draw the hay from the field to our barn. Our team is getting too old now to push them too hard so we will likely (as we did last year) put only three instead of four of the large round bales on the wagon each time and do only three trips each day, maybe four if they seem ok for it. The yield from our neighbours field is likely to be from 35 to 40 bales. The distance is about a mile and a half from the field to our barn, a lot of uphill and some shorter distance downhill though one bit is fairly steep and with no brakes on the wagon the horses have to hold the load going down and that takes a fair bit of effort. So 10 days of sunshine, not too hot would do just fine for haying.
Weeds are starting to get a little bit ahead of us so if anyone out here feels the need for some extra exercise in the late spring sun under pleasant surroundings, then give us a call and come by for a couple hours.