Saturday, October 1, 2011

FARM LAB FRIDAY Integrate Pest Management in Vegetable Crop Production Class

Well, another busy, exciting week is winding down and I have so much to share.

I took a mid-term at school followed by an introduction to Hydroponics at the school greenhouse.  Believe it or not, these romaine lettuce transplants are the same age as these in the field...  

Hydroponics create perfect growing conditions for plants: climate control, mineral and nutrient control, and pest control.  Both plants came from the same batch of transplants we planted a few weeks ago, and the field romaine looks great, but the hydroponically grown romaine is almost 300% as big.  Amazing.

My row in the center of this picture was among a lucky few that were full of grass this week...  Thankfully, my wonderful Husband went along with me to school and helped me weed my bed, all 195' of it...

This marker denotes an area of my organic bed that I am experimenting on.  The plants behind the marker, up to the next marker were all treated with Superzyme, a biologic product full of beneficial organisms that are supposed to be fast acting and help your organic plants grow faster.  In my test plot (so far) my Superzyme treated plants are smaller than my untreated plants...  I will keep watching them and report again next week.

Another experiment, this time the product was called Actinovate and it left measurably larger plants.  Yippee! Sorry, these shots were taken before class and before the bed was cleaned up.

A successful IPM strategy includes frequently checking the plants in the field for pest and disease damage.  On the image above, you can see what is called "tunneling" inside the leaf.  This is done by leafminers, which are flying insect larvae that literally get inside the leaf and eat tissue, which makes them difficult to kill because they're inside.  Our organic field had a good amount of this damage, so far, it's not at threshold levels, but I suspect this is only going to get worse.  I wonder if the Professor will let us use Spinosad??? That's an organic insecticide that can "get them" with multiple applications; they have to ingest it from the plant tissue...

It may be hard to see in this picture (sorry, I get so excited when we catch a pest insect that my hands shake) but there is a small light green caterpillar on this leaf and he is the little villain responsible for all these holes.
He is a cabbage looper.  I caught my own shortly after I took this shot.  They are everywhere at the farm this week, turning our organic and some of our conventional cabbage plant leaves into swiss cheese.

All in all, it was a great day at the farm, we DID get the whole row weeded.  See.  The spots that look empty are actually red leaf lettuce.  When they're this small, they're almost invisible from this distance. lol

Later, to reward ourselves Jerry and I went to our local fair and enjoyed animals, tractors, crafts, fried foods, demonstrations, and lots of excitement.

I hope you had a great week too, and I hope next week is even better for you.  Bye for now!

I am linking this post up to my favorite HOPS!

Homestead Revival's Barn Hop


  1. Heidi! I'm so jealous you get to go to farm school!!I think I will look for one too! :) Thanks for linking up my dear!

  2. Thanks Deb for stopping by, I am so glad you did. I LOVE your new Fall note card collection and I look forward to posting to Farmgirl Friday every time. Have a great weekend.

  3. Such cool stuff you're learning! I have some cabbage loopers on my kale, I'll have to go out in the morning and see if I can pick and squish! ;) Thanks for identifying them for me!

  4. I am so glad that you got something useful from one of my posts Candy. Squishing IS the best answer for most home gardens.


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