FALL PLANTING OBSTACLES
The biggest obstacle to farming on the Gulf Coast is the high precipitation. This week, we continued to see scattered rain showers which has kept the fields too wet to begin planting fall herbs and vegetables. The target date for planting this round of crops is on or before October 1.
This period may end up giving us some advantage! The reality of starting a farm is that there will initially be a massive bank of weed seeds in the soil from whatever plants were previously growing there. As we delay the planting of crops, we are able to let weed seeds germinate again and again, and promptly till them under before they can create a new generation of weeds. Doing this repeatedly will render a net reduction of future weed problems - yielding long term benefits by reducing crop competition and improving visual appeal. This process is called "stale seed bedding".
This week we received a new piece of equipment called a flail mower. While soil conditions were not ideal for bed shaping, we were able to mow the entire grounds and continue beautification efforts as well as another round of tilling.
A new row was added to the tomato trellising, where we found our first major tomato pest for the fall season:
tomato horn worms.
They look like cute caterpillars, but just one of these bad boys can strip an entire plant in a day!
We were also able to weed the keyhole gardens, planter boxes, and sweet potato beds. Next week, we may be able to get our first sweet potato harvest!