As this internship comes to an end (sadly), I'd like to dedicate this post to the little things. There are somethings that I will never forget from this experience. I've witnessed life and death, from seed to the compost pile. The silly yet very catchy signs located all through the farm. All of the volunteers that I have met along the way and my fellow interns. And especially my first taste of a persimmon. So I would just like to thank Michael and the Howdy Farm! for this special opportunity and a very wholesome last semester. Here are some pictures from my last week at the Howdy farm.
Everything is huge! I missed a week and when I got back everything was super big compared to the last time I had seen them. I'm convinced Michael dug mine out and replaced them with bigger ones. Of course I'm kidding , the rain must have really help them grow. Last week we got the last of our seeds in from Rare seeds. One more variety of pac choi (purple lady) and one more variety of collards (morris heading). I did not like the look of the new seeds because they had a lot of variety in them compared to Johnny's seeds. you can see the variation in the first picture in the second row. The second picture in the second row is my personal favorite. It is the flower of an okra plant which surprised me because I had never seen one. Then I found out that they were in the Malvaceae family and it all made sense.
The pac choi in the front beds are doing very well as you can see in the first row of pictures. We began mulching the collards and pac choi in the fields as you can see in the rest of the pictures. Mulching has to be put in the Olympics soon because it takes skill to toss the mulch. I had an expert teacher though so I caught on pretty quickly. Afterwards I noticed some white lines on one of the leaves of a pac choi plant and didn't know what it was so I asked Michael. He told me it was a leaf miner and I thought it was so cool except for the fact that it was on one of my babies. Luckily I only saw one plant that was infected and you can see it in the last picture on this post.
Last week we planted some collard in the field. Some are doing really well as you can see in the picture in the first row on the left, others not so much as you can see in the second picture in that row but still others are doing worst that that as you can see in the third picture in the first row. These pictures were taken on the same day on the same row just feet from each other. I wonder what makes a pest feed on one plant but not the one next to it? How do they chose their prey?
The collards and pac choi are growing super fast since being on the hardening off bench and some of the plants that had leaf trimmer damage are beginning to grow some leaves back which is a good sign. We made some room in two bed in the front of the farm and started to plant some of both kinds of pac choi. they might not look like much yet but they will in a couple weeks.
The collards and pac choi have been transferred to the hardening off bench for about a week now and they are doing well for the most part. The only problem that we are having is the leaf cutter caterpillars. As you can see in the picture below the are very annoying pests. Instead of chewing on the leaves of the plants like a normal caterpillar they go straight for the base of the plant like a psychopath. Hopefully they will be able to recover.
Today I'm going to introduce you to the Queen of the farm aka Napita. She is the farm cat and serves many purposes such as moral support and pest control. When it is hot out and I've been in the field for hours its nice to go take a break in the shade and pet her. The Bell peppers that we planted week one are doing very well as you can see in the second picture. The third picture was taken while we were rebuilding the mulch containers featuring Captain America. I wish I would have taken a before and after picture but I forgot, oops.
Today I witnessed natures natural pest control. I happened to run into a wasp snacking on a juicy caterpillar while weeding in the field. I used to hate them but now I appreciate them a little for taking care of some of our pests. The collards and pac choi have sprouted a week later and have really good germination. Its about time to transfer them to the hardening off bench outside.
This week on the Howdy Farm we finished weeding the rows. We also added mulch to them so now they are ready for the plants. Three of my seed packets came in from Johnny's seeds, one of the Collards (Flash F1) and two Pac Choi (Joi Choi F1 and Mei Qing Choi F1). We went ahead and planted the seeds, one tray of each. I have not grown collards or pac choi before so I am very excited to see how they both do but to be honest I'm more excited about the pac choi. But don't tell the collards.
The first week on the farm was a good introduction to what we were going to be doing the rest of the semester. We began to weed a plot where some of our plants were going to be put in. As you can see from the picture below, it really needed a good weeding. We also transplanted some peppers into rows as you can see in the second picture. We also ordered our seeds for the vegetable trials that we are going to be doing.