Savage Farming

Monday, May 22, 2006

Planting melons

Today we finished our first planting of tomatoes and continued with the cantaloupes and mixed melons, watermelons etc. For the gardening curious we are planting them a little over 2 feet apart in rows 8 feet apart. We like to give our melons plenty of room. We pre-fertilize with triple 16 [300-400 pounds per acre] and lime which are thoroughly mixed in by our row maker. Plastic mulch really helps melons a lot, warmer soils they prefer.

The biggest enemies of melons are the green cucumber beetle (also called the mexican bean beetle in some locales) and the 2 striped melon beetle. Should these show up in your garden spray aggressively with sevin, malathion, or pyrethrins. I used to encourage the use of the organic pesticide rotenone but it turns out that it is more toxic to mammals than malathion or sevin. I would stay away from pyrethrins because they do not affect spidermites and thus their use can encourage spidermite outbreaks. The reason to be particularly hostile to these beetles is that they will not only feed voraciously on your plants but they will also infect your plants with bacterial blight. Do not lie to yourself that somehow mother nature will take care of these pests. I have used every control method both organic and synthetic and I can tell you that unless you have only a few plants and can hand remove these insects in the morning with a vacuum cleaner they will utterly destroy your crop if you don't apply a strong effective insecticide. No organic method exists to control these pests and trying to maintain a balanced predator population will not help if they are flying in from a neighbors yard (that's what happened to me a few years back, disaster!) unless you can buy a kentucky fried chicken tub sized container of ladybugs and another of praying mantis and even then that won't protect your plants from the blight. Better to buy a few dollars worth of sevin and do the job right. I ferverently HATE those beetles.

Ok, enough gardening 101. The day has been lovely and productive. A few showers blew through this morning washing everything clean and leaving a rich spicy scent in the air. Now the breezes have begun picking up and giving me an invigorating feeling. We might have a thunder rumble or two, I feel.

No interesting dreams to report last night. No new collective recollection. Perhaps the ebb and flow of "manna" has trended down a bit or maybe I'm still too tired from work.

Wishing you a perfect moment of unreflected clarity and two more of giggles.

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