Friday, July 12, 2013

More on Bugs and Milk

Maybe you've heard, but we have had inordinate amounts of rain in the last month- so much rain that there aren't many strawberries because they've molded on the vine. Being from Texas means I avoid complaining about rain. And our grass is the most beautiful we've ever seen it because of all this rain. Our cow is very happy with all the nice pasture.

However, there are complications. You might think that we would always need rain because of our sandy soil. You would almost be right. Even as wet and sopping as everything is right now, if we do go the next five days without rain, the garden and the pasture will show signs of stress.

Still, the garden is suffering. The sandy soil means that none of my plants are standing in water, not even with all the hay I've put in the garden for mulch. What has happened is that all this rain easily leeches nutrients from our soil. Soil without nutrients means the plants do not have all the trace elements they need to have happy bacteria and fungi around their roots. For all I know, the inundation might even wash away some of those microbes, because it has rained and rained and our soil looks a lot like beach sand.

The rain also washes away my foliar feeds, so I have been spraying milk twice a week instead of once. And still, the latest deluge seemed to be the final straw for the potatoes and pumpkins. The potatoes are crawling with potato beetle larvae and the squash beetles have killed two pumpkin vines. To give a little perspective, my potatoes are still leafy and lush, not a bunch of bare stalks, and this time last year, the cucumber beetles had eaten most of the vines to the ground, so even with these setbacks, I'm still ahead of where I was last year. Also, I have mulched heavily with hay, so I have trapped some of this water to get the plants through the next little dry spell.

I also ordered more of the trace mineral/complete feed from Nutrient Dense Supply Company. I have the recipe for making it myself, but so far, it's been worth it to just buy it from them. Yesterday, I sprayed this at the maximum concentration with more milk. Now, it's not supposed to rain for a few days, so maybe the plants can get a leg up, and the various invertebrates will not thrive.

I'll post pictures of the garden soon!

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