Upic Expands…and so does late blight

What’s in Upic?……
Snap Peas and Snow Peas
Thyme        Chives        Basil
Parsley    Cilantro    Beans (one pint Plz)
Flowers with signs

The Upic field adds many new items this week as summer arrives with a vengeance. This field has been a real bright spot this year as it has really started to look great even with the poor weather. The flowers are coming in early this year and thanks to many hours of help from CSA members Bob Leezer and Barb Harvey we have the healthiest looking plants we have had in many years.
Those of you new to the upic experience at the farm here are a few points and guidelines to keep these crops going strong all summer:
•    Picking is open on Tuesday, Fridays, and Sundays from dawn to dusk. Please pick just once a week.
•    Look for the signs we post in the field indicating what is ready to pick. If you don’t see a sign, please don’t pick it.
•    Scissors are provided to help in cutting things that need to be cut (not peas). Please use them –clean cuts help keep the plants healthy and productive. Please don’t put scissors in your pockets! You’ll remember them when you get home. The loop on each pair is to go around your wrist and keep them handy for picking.
•    Be gentle with the plants when picking and use both hands, one to hold the plant and one to cut or pick. Parents please teach your little ones how to do this before letting them loose.
•    Be aware of where you are walking and try to walk between the beds and not on them.
•    Know and teach your young ones that all of the fencing at the farm is electrified, including the fence around the upic field.
•    Make sure the kids (and adults) stay out of the buildings and off of the tractors and farm equipment. The farm is old and there are numerous serious dangers to be found.
•    Weeding, picking rocks and squashing bad bugs are always welcome. If you question whether a bug is bad leave it be: it could be an ally.
•    Find a farmer and ask us if you are unsure how or what to pick.

The bad news for the week is that late blight has arrived in our tomato crop. We are trying to prune out the unhealthy foliage and pull whole plants that have the disease in their stems but we’re not sure if this will work. If the weather improves we may have enough healthy plants to make a season out of it. We just have to hope.
I mowed a third of our potato crop on Saturday trying to minimize the loss in the plants that are still healthy. We will begin digging really small potatoes in mid-August, which is about a month earlier than usual.
The tactics for managing this disease out break have really evolved over the past couple weeks as the infection has spread to pretty much everyone we know in the northeast. Usually we try to pull infected plants immediately to stop the spread of the disease to other farms, but the level of infection is so widespread that farmers are starting to now try and save sick plants with the hope of bringing in some kind of crop.

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