Friday, September 01, 2006

worms in the corn

There are a number of things I would like to write about this week.

Things like:

What were the dogs barking at in the middle of the night? (they spent last night running from one end of the farm to the other. Chasing something. A bear stomping through the woods? A deer that had managed to find a hole in the fence? A human stumbling around in the dark?)

What knocked over the fence by the greenhouse and ate 200 squash plants?

Why did the two turkey moms take their three chicks through that hole in the chicken yard fence and meander down through the peppers and basil and off into the forest (this morning I saw them coming out of the woods down behind the house, young ones in tow).

Those four baby chicks, golden colored chicks less than a week old, the ones that were walking in a straight line behind that large golden hen, where did their mother hide her nest so well that the eggs were never found? ( never found by me, or the local black snakes, or the possums, raccoons, skunks and other egg loving critters)?

Why weren’t they eaten by a predator?

How do I explain corn ear worms to people who have never eaten corn not thoroughly doused in insect killing poisons before?

And the watermelon. Why did they just shrivel on the vine?

But the truth is, the drought, (we are in a major drought. The rainfall every month this year except for the rains in early June are well below normal precipitation levels), is overwhelming everything else.

We are in the midst, as is much of the country, of a major drought.

Vegetables, to thrive, need at least one inch of water a week. They, of course, could use more. We have had only an inch in the last month.

(that’s why, when some experts discuss the global trade of food, especially vegetables --- think when you go into Whole Foods and see those large juicy red bell peppers grown in Sicily or the out of season asparagus shipped all the way from Peru --- look at that sort of trade as not just exporting vegetables, but more as exporting their valuable water).

Anyway, here in Virginia, as in most of North America, we are in a major drought. Hopefully there will be rain, as predicted again, this afternoon.

The drought is getting so sever it is beginning to hurt everything. Look out your door at the shriveled leaves on the trees. if you live in the burbs, look at the sad stand of weeds on that unmanaged corner. If it is not being watered, it is dying.

All summer long I have been watering nonstop and keeping our vegetables alive but an inch of water each and every week is getting hard to do. Somethings really want more than just an inch a week. Watermelons. We have lost our watermelons. They should have been ripe last week but they were still very small. I plowed them under.

And the greens. I went up and checked on some of the greens I planted two weeks ago and found the seeds still in the ground, un-germinated.

If any of you have a magic rain dance that’s been passed down from one generation to the next, now is the time to perform it.

This is week 13 of our 20 week season. The shares end October 21st.

Here is some other farm news:

Corn ear worms. I’ve received a number of e-mails in the past several weeks about the worms in the corn. I realize most of you know this but for those of you who have never had organic corn before here’s one of the facts of life. Corn mostly has worms in it. The reason the stuff in the grocery store does not have worms is because it has been sprayed with a poison (or because it has been genetically modified by inserted into its genetic make up a growth inhibiting gene from a bacteria).

Our corn does not have either.

If and when you find a worm in your corn the easiest thing to do is just break off the damaged corn. If, you are not interested in eating the worm, you can throw it in the trash can (or save them for our chickens. The chickens and turkeys would find the corn worms a special treat). If, though, you expect corn without worms in it, organic corn and our CSA is not for you.

Leigh Hauter

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