June 4, 2012
The cool and rain sure have brightened things. The greens are greener and the colors are deeper. A wonderful respite. Enjoy!
But the Japanese Beetles are back! Are you ready for the battle ahead? Here’s a bit from Oscar to help you cope:
You consider your garden worthy of attention; so may your neighbor. But there are a wealth of pests that are really glad you planted all those flowers,too!
We here at Hilltop are not organic growers, but do not believe you need to poison the earth to deal with pests. We try to spray as little as possible, and then only with the least harmful as possible. When dealing with pests, first and foremost, you need to set a level of damage you can live with before you need to take action. (Is a few tomato leaves eaten by a hornworm cause for panic? I don’t think so!) But if your damage level IS being approached, here are some ideas:
· Aphids – Use a high pressure nozzle on a hose and blast their soft bodies off the plant. Almost certain death awaits them on the ground.
· Flea beetles on eggplant – Strike early with Sevin dust or spray. There are other products that work well, too.
· Japanese beetles – Luckily they last only 4-6 weeks, and they don’t eat everything, and they are relatively easy to kill. Japanese beetles have their favorite plants, which are good “indicator” plants to monitor for the need to spray. (Beetle favorites at Hilltop Farm – our indicator plants: Crape myrtle, hibiscus, cannas, bananas, crab apple, roses, dahlias, rose of Sharon, chestnut trees, grapevines) Japanese beetles are becoming more omnivorous (eating more different things) so keep an eye on everything. We have found that if you can stop the beetles on certain plants, they will sometimes ignore those plants for the rest of the season. For roses, a beetle favorite, we remove all temptation by cutting the plants back by 1/3-1/2, which removes the blooms that attract the beetles. By the time the beetles are gone, your rose is poised for a fabulous flush of blooms! As for spraying (once “picking them off” becomes too great of a task), many of our customers report good results using Sevin.
· Caterpillars – BT is an organic spray that works well, as do many non-organic sprays (like Sevin). Tomato hornworms on tomatoes try to hide along the underside of the leaf midrib. They get big and can be picked off. They are hard to spot at first, but once you start seeing them, then they are easy to see. If you have eaten leaves, the hornworms are there; look for them until you find them! Picking of hornworms is a great kid job, if you happen to have one on hand.
· Slugs and snails – They are active at night, so scout for them at night. Some say low pans of beer work to attract and drown them. (not too effective in our book). Kids with spritz bottles of dilute ammonia water to melt down the slugs they find is quite effective and a fantastic family activity. Deadline is a commercial bait that we find to be very effective and safe when used properly.
· Always follow package instuctions! “organic” doesn’t mean it is safe; it just means the ingredients come from nature. [The most lethal spray we use is Nicotine – found in cigarettes and oganic!]
Here is an event announcement: We will be having an “evening in the garden” on June 12th (Tuesday) from 6-8pm. Part of the event is a “trunk show” for Lindsay, our youngest. She makes bead and chain maille jewelry and will be showing/selling her wares. She designs and creates some beautiful and chic pieces. Enjoy the gardens in the cool of the evening, check out Lindsay’s offerings, and shop a little. We will have refreshments and extra special specials on plant material (for this evening only) as well. So…RSVP, bring a friend, shop with abandon, and just have fun!
Some of you I gave an incorrect date when I spoke about this. Please note that the date is Tuesday, June 12th (not June 14th , nor Saturday) Sorry for the confusion. This is also not going to be the Gold Card Party. That will be announced soon.
Have a blessed week! Amy
The thought for the week: The Lord wants to take our ashes (all the ugly and painful stuff in our lives – past and present) and turn them into a thing of beauty (something to praise the Lord for). He can take our ugliest or most painful moments and make them glorious! All we have to do is hand the “ashes” over to Him and trust Him to do His marvelous work. I have seen it happen over and over again in my life!
Isa 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
Hilltop Farm is located 4½ miles south of Ash Grove on Highway F. We are approximately 20 miles (a very scenic 45 minute drive) out of Springfield. We highly recommend that you come visit our farm; it is well worth the drive. Be sure that you are familiar with our hours (below), so you will not be disappointed to find us closed.
Our hours for the 2012 Spring season will be:
Saturday, March 31st through Saturday, June 30th
Monday through Thursday, 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
Friday and Saturday, 8:30 am to 7:00 pm.
Please understand that we are closed on Sundays.