We made our first cucumber harvest this week! The variety we harvested is a pickling cucumber called Max Pack. Though it’s perfect for pickling due to its smaller size, it is also a great option for snacking since it has a small seed cavity. Cucumbers are well-known as a hydrating, cooling veggie. While the chemical constituents do not actually cool body tissues, the high water content means that the inside of the fruit can be up to 20 degrees cooler than its environment, which is what leaves us feeling “cool as a cucumber”.
It appears that the excessive rains we experienced a few weeks ago led to the development of powdery mildew among our first succession of summer squashes. Powdery mildew is caused by the fungus Podosphaera xanthii and can infect any members of the cucurbit family including summer squash, winter squash, cucumbers, and melons. All of these plants will be removed as the fungus will weaken them and cause the fruits to ripen prematurely. Luckily, we were able to make several harvests before this issue arose. Our second succession of summer squashes appears to be doing just fine and should give us our first harvest in the next week or two!
Weeding is one of our biggest tasks on the farm. In order to help control the weed growth that is choking out our sprinklers in the orchard, we started using a non-selective herbicide approved for organic farming. In the past, we’ve had to carefully weed-whack around the irrigation system in the orchard to control the growth but this method carries the potential of severing (and eventually repairing) our irrigation lines. The herbicide is an easier method that works to strip the weeds of their waxy cuticle, eventually dehydrating and killing them down to the root.