Cool bug drama

DSCF0105 sp soldier x CPB1200 3
Spined soldier bug attacking a Colorado potato beetle larva.

DSCF0103 - sp soldier spine

I discovered this miniature battle among our eggplants.  I was scouting for Colorado potato beetles, a pest that can defoliate eggplants.  The attacking insect on the left is a spined soldier bug, a type of stinkbug.  Most stinkbugs feed on (and damage) vegetables.  However, the spined soldier bug feeds on other insects, especially Colorado potato beetles.  This is so helpful!  You can distinguish a spined soldier bug from other stinkbugs by the spines on its “shoulders.”  Sucking out the brains of Colorado potato beetles is another clue.  It was so cool to see this happening.  This is organic agriculture at work, but it’s so easy to overlook.

CSA housekeeping

– Email brown-out from noon July 25 to August 4.   I am taking our children to visit family on the east coast. We ask that you limit communication with us from July 25 through August 4.  Please contact us no later than 12:00 noon on July 25 to ask questions, cancel a box, etc.  Steve will check my emails but won’t have much time to respond.  I’ll be back and ready to communicate on August 4.  Thanks for your help with this.
– August 1 checks.  Many of you paid us with checks dated August 1.  I will deposit the checks on August 8.

Support a family in need.

Steve and I are members of FairShare CSA Coalition, a group of local farmers dedicated to promoting the CSA idea in Wisconsin.  Our vibrant Partner Shares program supports CSA shares for low-income households.  We thank each of you who donated to Partner Shares while registering for your Tipi CSA share this year.  In hopes of expanding the number of families we can support next year, FairShare is holding a donation drive from July 21 through August 8.  FairShare writes “We believe every family should have access to locally produced, organic food.  Unfortunately, for many people, purchasing local, farm-fresh, food is beyond their means.  The Partner Shares program brings fresh produce within reach for low-income families by providing up to $300 toward the cost of their CSA share.”

As you enjoy the produce we’ve grown for you, we invite you to share this experience with others in your community.  Please donate to the Partner Shares program and “Share a Share” today.  For more information about Partner Shares and how you can donate please visit FairShare’s website: www.csacoalition.org/news/partner-shares-donation-drive-july-21-august-8/.  Thank you.

Bike the Barns registration is open but filling quickly.

Another way to support Partner Shares is by participating in the Bike the Barns bicycle tour.  This year’s ride heads northeast of Madison, with two routes (45-mile, 60-mile), interesting farms, and excellent food.  Read more and register here.  The ride usually sells out by August 15, so you should make your decision soon.

Farm news

DSCF0284 Steve irrig
Steve irrigates a young carrot planting, and checks for emerging carrot seedlings.  Carrots need to stay moist for 12 days after planting in order to germinate and emerge well.  Rain is wonderful.  Irrigation is reliable.  We’ve had good germination in our carrot plantings this month because of the frequent rains.  The carrots we plant in July will be ready to harvest in October and November.  We’ll store the carrots for sale through the winter to the Willy Street, Outpost and Basics coops.  I showed a photo of this exact field earlier this spring.  It was planted to lettuce and scallions then.

DSCF0209 Steve ESilva OAC
We hosted a farm tour this week for the Wisconsin Organic Advisory Council.  Steve (at right) serves on the council which advises the WI Department of Agriculture on issues related to organic ag.  Participants include farmers, consumers, organic advocates, business and nonprofit representatives.  The group stands in front of carrot trials we’ve planted in collaboration with UW/Madison professor Erin Silva (second from right).

Veggie list and veggie notes (July 24/25, week #10, purple EOW)

Green beans, 2 lb
Broccoli, 1+ lb
Carrots, 2 lb
Kale (either green or lacinato kale), 1 bunch
Walla Walla onion, 1 large
Zucchini and summer squash, about 2.5 lb
Cucumbers, 2
Basil, several sprigs
Cherry tomatoes OR globe eggplant OR Japanese eggplant
Fresh garlic, 1 small

Next week’s box will probably contain snap beans, melon, sweet corn (?), lettuce, tomatoes, onions, zucchini, cucumbers, bell peppers, basil and more.

Fresh garlic – Refrigerate and eat soon.  This young garlic won’t spoil at room temperature but will become more difficult to peel as it dries.  The skins are still moist and will come off easily.  At this early stage, we clean the garlic by hosing it off, and it’s still damp.  We grew these heads but most of the garlic we send to you will be from John Hendrickson of Stone Circle Farm.  We planted garlic ourselves this year so we can increase the amount of garlic you receive from us.

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