Sunday, July 24, 2011

Human Intervention

We have been waiting for this moment. The thistles are in full swing. They are pouring their energy into these brilliant bursts of color before their seeds mature. They are still sterile now, but they have clearly agreed to lose everything for love. I hear the groan of the tractor. Garth is mowing swaths of burdock, thistles and parsnip that have been towering above our heads for weeks.

When hit at the perfect moment, it can be more than they can recover from. We want to break the cycle that has created a burdock monoculture on swaths of our pasture.

The winter squash has been asking for our attention too.

Meet the cucumber beetle. They eat the leaves of our squash plant, but what is more worrisome is that they congregate and damage the flowers as they're opening to be pollinated. The flower dies back without a fruit forming below it. You can spray them with organic pesticides, but the stores around us only sell the heavy duty insecticides, so I've been picking them off by hand.

They are slower than flea beetles and larger, which makes them easier to handle. I hope that the fruits our squash does produce will be extra potent because these beetles have diminished the competition. Cheers to hoping.


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