COLD FRONTS AND ORGANIC PESTICIDES

Cold fronts moved in at the end of this week with threats of freezing temperatures. Winter has arrived, and we sure felt it at the market Thursday afternoon, with wind chills below 40 degrees! However, thanks to the outstanding community, we still managed a great turnout at the market for the first citrus harvest!

This week, we continued to prepare for the spring. We installed an irrigation line to bring water to the greenhouse for winter production. The majority of the tables that will hold transplants in the greenhouse have been assembled.

Another preparation for next year’s spring growing season was sorting and setting aside enough sweet potatoes for seed. We removed any sweet potatoes that had been damaged, set aside enough to save for slip starters, and sorted the rest into two market qualities.

This week, we used our first targeted application of organic pesticide. We have had a significant fire ant population develop inside our greenhouse while it is under construction. Most conventional fire ant solutions use pervasive and long lasting chemicals that are bad for the planet, our health, and our designation as a Transitioning Organic Farm.

We completed two targeted applications of Spinosad, a byproduct of a bacteria, in hopes of suppressing ant mound numbers by early spring. While Spinosad has very low mammalian toxicity, this method ensures that the very least amount of product is used. By soaking corn meal in the product and sprinkling it around the mound, we created an ant bait which will be carried directly to all members of the colony, including queens. One of the reasons fire ants are so difficult to eradicate (even by chemical means) is that their mounds have multiple queens.

To read more about Organic pesticides, visit Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

As everyone gears up for the holidays, be sure to include some farm fresh produce into your holiday meals!

The next opportunity to buy farm produce will be Friday, December 23 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm. You can also bring family in town for the holidays to the Village Farm between 12:00pm and 2:00pm for a U-Pick opportunity!

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