Crop Talk, April 24, 2017

Berries Rescheduled

   Nature -- that is, life -- has a schedule of its own that doesn't pay attention to the schedules we make for it and publish online. For example, we scheduled this year's strawberry festival for the end of May and the beginning of June, but the green berries in that picture aren't going to wait that long, so we've rescheduled the Strawberry Jubilee Festival for the first two weekends in May. The second of those weekends is Mother's Day, so if you're looking for a special way to celebrate the mother in your life, bring her out to the strawberry festival -- and take her to the Mother's Day Tea at Bluemont Vineyard afterward!

     Hours this week are 10:00 to 5:00, with wagon rides at 11:00, 1:00, and 3:00, and Cow Trains at 12:45 and 2:45.  Chicks may be returned to the market any time between 10:00 and 4:00. 

Field Notes

   Last week we moved okra, cabbage, broccoli, and leeks out of the greenhouse into the field, and we planted hundreds of new apple trees, cherry trees, and blueberry bushes. The existing cherry trees are loaded with fruit, so we're hoping for a great harvest this year.

   When you visit the farm in the next few days, take a look at the incubator in the market. We have goose eggs and turkey eggs which are due to hatch on Mother's Day. We also have eight pregnant goats which should start dropping their kids any day now.  

Why Even Small Farmers Should Make Space For Refuge Crops

   The basic idea of refuge crops is all about bug sex.

   About 88 percent of corn grown in the United States is genetically modified in some way. Most is what’s called Bt corn, meaning it’s been modified to produce a bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis (hence the name), which serves as its own pesticide.

   But the bugs targeted by this bacteria are smart. The borers, worms, moths, and beetles that are supposed to be stopped by Bt corn have in recent years begun to mutate and become resistant to the bacteria. That’s bad news—it negates the entire point of Bt corn, and crops are still being eaten.

   This effect, though, can be mitigated with what are called “refuge crops.” Here’s how...

Read more here.

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