Howdy Farm would love for you to know our Interns, so we've interviewed each one. We asked them why they chose Howdy Farm and what they plan on doing while they're here.
We, farmers and gardeners and hobbyists alike, have watched beloved plants wither and wilt because of pests. For organic farmers and those who prefer to not use pesticides, the algorithm to remove harmful insects seems that much harder to solve. We labor, pull weeds, remove aphid-infested leaves by hand. Sometimes it seems like a cyclic routine--but preventative actions can act as a road block. Taking action ahead of time, and knowing the first signs of pests, can be the best form of plant medicine available. The three bugs listed below, all from the order Hemiptera, contain a proboscis that sucks moisture from the plant.
Everyone loves ladybeetles (also called ladybird beetles). Children pick them up in awe, and some cultures associate the beetle with good luck. However, seeing ladybugs also mean that aphids--their main food source--are in the area. Thin white filaments on budding leaves or flowers also mean aphids, and they are often called plant lice because they live in hoards and are hard to completely remove.
With mouths that are almost the length of their own body, Leaffooted Bugs (from the family Pentatomidae) are able to pierce a variety of fruits, nuts and vegetables in order to drink.Their spawn cluster in groups, like those in the picture to the right. Their enemies range from the tiny wasp to the colder temperatures of winter. In Texas, Leaffooted bugs can survive winter using old houses or piles of wood and compost--so it's important to remove such things from a garden site regularly. They're nearly impossible to get rid of, and can leave unsightly blotches on your produce. Planting a trap crop of sunflowers or manually removing/squashing the insects can help stop them from spreading to more valuable crops.
Leaffooted bugs are nearly impossible to get rid of, so supplying them with an alternate source of food (called a trap crop) can help eliminate their presence from more valuable crops .
3) Mealybugs can cause plant wilting.
Mealybugs are closely related to aphids, as because of this they can be controlled by ladybugs. They received their name from the waxy substance secreted on their backs, and love plants with higher amounts of nitrogen. Softer plants, such as bean shoots or younger growths, are some of their favorite meals. They also, like the Leaffooted Bug, have long mouths that pierce into the stem of soft shoots. Their egg sacks can look like a form of fungus, or mildew, and are usually placed on the underside of a leaf or out of the sun. The best way to get rid of them is to promote ladybug and lacewing populations, and to remove infested leaves regularly. Washing them off using water can act as a good, short-term solution.
Know how pests consume produce.
Volunteer hours are from 1-5 pm every MWF.
September 11: After volunteer hours end at 5:00 pm, Howdy Farm will head over for a bite at Blackwater Draw.
September 17th: At 6:00 pm, Howdy Farm is throwing a Welcome Back Cookout, and hopes to provide information to new and old students at the farm.
September 20th: Volunteers and members meet for breakfast at Hullabaloo Diner and then head to Millican Reserve's "Market On The Green" for shopping and entertainment.