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Good Cop/Bad Cop--Good bugs/Bad Bugs

Posted 8/5/2019 11:10am by David Zemelsky.

Greetings To All Of You That I Appreciate Greatly,

In theory only, I wouldn't want to harm a flea.  My immediate way of thinking about other living creatures is consistent with the Tibetan Monks who will move the location of a temple being built if there's an ant colony in the way.  That's in theory only.  If a deer fly, black fly, mosquito etc lands on me, I'm going for total destruction.  I'm not very good at it, but there's dedication there.  Its instinctual.  They land, I try to execute them.  Its who I am.  But when there's time to think, there can also be mercy on my part.  The bug that's poking around in the bathroom sink- I could turn on the water and let it go down the drain or try the scope method and let it go.  Its a noble attempt at my own brand of Zen.  And then there's hornworms.

Hornworms can go a long way to showing how you really are in the world.  All this Zen stuff truly goes out the window.  And wouldn't you?  Consider the tomato that the hornworm loves to consume .  These plants have been nurtured by us for months.  Some of them since the beginning of January.  Some of you might remember the big setback in April when the furnace failed causing the vegetation to die on many of them.  They probably lost a good month in a half of progress that night.  My point-they've been profoundly nurtured and given a lot of love.  Scouting, pruning, trellising all those things.  Then along comes the tomato hornworm.  From where, I don't know.  Maybe they live in the soil and emerge that way.  In any case, at this time of year they'll appear.

So this next paragraph is graphic and a tad gross.  Skip it, if you want. I'd totally understand.  Ok.  The first thing that we'll notice when the hornworm appears is a disgusting dark green/brown/black/purple residue on some of the lower leaves.  Then, by looking up at the top most plant stalk, we'll see what's really going on.  Its a feast.  The top parts of the tomato plant are the most tender, hence the most choice for them.  They'll go thru rows of tomato tops in a matter of hours if left unchecked.  As far as a bug goes-they have a beautiful body.  Big, round, plump, striped with that prominent  horn sticking off its butt. 

Hornworms are green like the tomato plant, so easily hidden from all but the discerning eye.  If you could locate them by eye, it would be as easy as going from plant to plant and plucking them and settling them in a liquid bath of beer.  Let them go out in style, I say.  See! look at that last sentence! That's what I'm getting at.  The gentle, no harm method goes totally out the window.  My inner violent side comes to the front. It gets worse.  Read on.

Wayne Young,who alas is no longer with us, told me that the best way to find hornworms is to go up and down the aisle with a sprayer on your back filled with  water.  When they are unexpectedly sprayed, they jump and blow their cover.  On a smaller scale, you could just get a spray bottle for your backyard toms.  That's when i move in with the beer bath.  Another method is to spray all the plants with Dipel DF, an approved Organic spray.  This spray lands on the leaves and the hornworm will die after ingesting the Dipel.

The last way I want to discuss is for the farmer to do noting and let nature take over.  The hornworm can be attacked by parasites that will eventually overcome the worm and kill it.  If you come across a hornworm on your tomato plants that has white micro telescopes on it-do nothing.  Nature is doing its own thing here.  When the parasites are down, the hornworms looks exactly like the balloons at your child's birthday party two weeks after the event. Very deflated and very dead.

Full disclosure.  I'll walk amongst the dead hornworms and feel victorious.  Not proud of that feeling but will have to admit that its important for me to realize that there are dark sides  to who I am. AND, I'm still going to try and save that funny bug thats stuck in my bathroom sink.

We've got everything that we  offered last week, just more of everything!  If you're ordering for delivery at the shed, remember that your order will be ready after 2pm on Thursday.  In this hot weather, its important to get there as soon as its practical.  Let me know your order by 8AM  on Thursday.

I will add this: Our tomatoes happen to be the best.  You won't anywhere find a better tomato.  And each of them makes for an exciting eating project, whether its the Artisan smaller size, with its dreamy, and creamy flavors or heirlooms, sometimes big but always more than interesting in flavor.

Here's the list:

Sun Golds- bright orange and a blazing burst of sweetness. $6.50/pinnt

Sokura- a Japanese variety that are small, round , red and delicious. $6.50/pint

Artisans- different shapes, different colors, different flavors.  Artisans tend to really "wow" people. $6.50/pint

Juliet- my all time favorite and so versatile.  Great for munching out of the container or for cooking.  An unusual combo.  That's why, if I was going to a desert island-they'd be my only choice. $7/lb

Heirlooms- Always amazing in taste and texture. I can, with total confidence offer the following guarantee about heirlooms:  If after taking a bite, you don't jump up in down with delight (regardless of the temperature outside), I'll be happy to substitute anything else for you. $7/lb.

New Garlic- and a beautiful crop, too! $3.50/head

Sweet Peppers- all different colors, purple, yellow,orange, and red $5/lb

Hot Peppers -$5 for a half pint

Cucumbers- three different kinds.  Pickling cukes.  A big handful for $3 and an even bigger handful for $5.  Katrina- thin skinned and very few seeds- $5/lb.  Soyu-an Asian variety. Great flavor, texture and look.  $5/lb

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Kale, Collards and Swiss Chard-all awesome choices for those greens that we all need to eat more and more of.  $3.50/bunch

Beets- gratitude gratitude gratitude.  That's what I think after eating our beets.  Roasted or pickled.  I say "oh yes!" $4/bunch

Haukeri and Scarlet Long Turnips- if you haven't tried haukeri, consider it now. More like a delicious radishes in texture that can be eaten raw. $4/bunch

Carrots:    Truly a gift. $5/bunch

String Beans- $4/lb

Red Long of Tropea onions $4/bunch

Scallions- -both white and red $3/bunch

Summer Squash- both green and yellow.  Let me know which ones. $4/lb

Fresh Herbs- ah Summer! Parsley, Oregano,Thyme and Genevese Basil $3/bunch

Pak Choi and Tokyo Bekana- $3.50/bunch

Fennel $5/head

Jen's Now Totally Famous Bouquet-even though this is her first year going solo on flowers, Jen has mastered the bouquet with ease. $8/bunch

Sunflowers - $5/bunch

Nasturiums- a nice bag for $5

Thanks again for all your support.