Sustainable SW Blogs

My favorite fix so far...

The Field Lab - Wed, 2020/06/24 - 4:35pm
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Bugs in your yard….. a closer look

Home Grown New Mexico - Tue, 2020/06/23 - 7:37pm

Take a walk around your yard and garden and you will quickly see that there are a lot of bugs and insects there; a lot of them! Some are beneficial and some can be real pests. A general bug killer will get rid of them all, but that is just ignorant and wrong. How good are you at telling them apart and what you can do to control the pesky ones? You know, the ones that can ruin your plants and make you want to quit gardening altogether!

Most of us know some of the good ones; bees, ladybugs and praying mantises for example, and some of the pests like aphids, squash bugs and flea beetles. But we may not recognize them in their immature stages when they can often be more voracious feeders. So… let’s take a look at some more insects in your yard and see how many you can recognize as either a “good bug” J or “bad bug” L

ladybug larva

 

#1 This is the larva of ladybug and it actually eat more aphids than the adult. J

 

 

 

 

praying mantis egg case

#2 This is an egg case of the praying mantis. The female creates a foamy mass full of eggs that dries and protects the eggs over winter. Just leave it alone.In the spring, the young emerge fully formed and begin eating aphids, leafhoppers, mosquitoes and caterpillars. J

 

 

pill bug

 

#3 Pill bug. You might think these “roly-polys are harmless detritivores but they can take out a whole row of seedlings overnight! Use Sluggo Plus to keep them under control.  L

 

 

 

spined soldier bug

spined soldier larva

#4 The spined soldier bug is a common stink bug and a great predator of the gypsy moth caterpillar, and the larval forms of the Colorado potato beetle and the Mexican bean beetle. The immature form looks somewhat like a ladybug. J

 

lacewing larva

lacewing adult

#5 The lacewing larva is the main predatory stage where they feed mainly on aphids. The adults are fragile looking, weak fliers and squash vine borergesubsist on nectar and pollen. J

 

leafhopper

#6 Leafhoppers are very tiny insects that can carry the curly top virus which will     kill your tomato plants and can damage peppers, beans, potatoes, spinach, beets as well. There is no cure. Cover your plants with row cloth to prevent the leafhopper from infecting them. Remove the cover in July when the monsoons arrive. J

 

squash vine borer

squash vine borer larva damage

#7 Squash vine borer. If you see this brightly colored insect watch out!   She’s about to lay eggs on the stem of your squash plant at ground level. The larvae will burrow into the stem and feed off the plant tissue causing the leaves to wilt. You might at first think that the plant needs watering, but take a closer look at the stem and you will see yellow-orange frass, or droppings around a hole. Once the larva has entered the stem, it’s very difficult to save the plant. Prevention is key. You can try covering the plants with row cover until the blossoms open. They overwinter in cocoons in the soil so don’t plant your squash in the same place as last year. Make sure you dispose of all squash vines at the end of the growing season. L

 

sphinx moth

tomato hornworm

#8 Sphinx moth. Often called the ‘humming bird moth”, it appears in the garden in late afternoons and evening. Enjoy the adults but be on the lookout for their caterpillars, called tomato hornworm. The female moth will lay her eggs on plants in the nightshade family including tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, pepper. The caterpillars grow quickly and can defoliate your tomato plants.   Inspect your plants regularly and pick them off as you find them. L

 

ground beetle

#9 As their name suggests, ground beetles live in the ground and both they and their larvae are considered beneficial predators of soil invertebrates. There are over 2.000 species in North America. Just leave them alone. J

 

 

squash bug adult

squash bug eggs

#10 Squash bugs are the bane of all gardeners. These bugs inject a toxin into the plant and suck the sap right out of it with their sharp, sucking mouth parts. This causes yellow spots that eventually turn brown. The leaves will wilt because the damage prevents the flow of nutrients to the leaves, and then they will dry up and turn black, crisp, and brittle. To control these you must be vigilant. Look for egg masses and scrape them off the undersides of the leaves or cut them out. Once they hatch you will have a difficult time finding them all. If you constantly have trouble with squash bugs, try growing squash varieties that are more resistant to them, such as butternut squash. Good luck! L

These are just some of the insects that you will come across as you spend time in your yard. Learning how to control the harmful ones without using pesticides will result in more beneficials and a healthier garden overall.

For more information about these and other beneficial garden insects check out this pocket guide to beneficial insects of New Mexico.

https://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/insects/welcome.html

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Another restoration...

The Field Lab - Tue, 2020/06/23 - 3:01pm
Today's pocket watch restoration.  New mainspring and case for an 18 size Elgin lever set movement made in 1891.  Still need to track down an hour hand for it.  89,97,76,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

#58

The Field Lab - Mon, 2020/06/22 - 3:47pm
brought back to life...99,112,74.0.C
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Father's Day

The Field Lab - Sun, 2020/06/21 - 1:26pm
Our Father who art in heaven...
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Silver Star

The Field Lab - Sat, 2020/06/20 - 3:37pm
This one put up quite a fight getting repaired and reassembled, but I prevailed in the end.  One of the nicest dials out of all the pocket watches I bought so far.  In other news:  over 1,000,000 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the world in the past week - the highest rate since the pandemic started.  Thought you should know.  Chump is too busy performing for his minions in Tulsa today. (oops...did I type that out loud?)   86,102,70, .01",B
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Someone is at the door...

The Field Lab - Fri, 2020/06/19 - 11:36am
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Pay attention...

The Field Lab - Thu, 2020/06/18 - 3:40pm
I have been following this very carefully for 90 days.  FYI - the worldwide daily infection rate is going up - especially since everything has been reopening.  A major spike yesterday - higher than anything seen so far.  Over 1 million new infections worldwide in the past week.    For those of you don't see that as a problem because you think it is merely due to more testing - what that actually means is the pandemic is far worse than believed.  And if you still think it isn't a problem because your locality isn't seeing much action...keep in mind this worldwide pandemic all started with just one case in China and sooner than later it is going to hit home for you.  In the last week alone, Brewster County, Texas (where I live) was relatively unscathed with only one case and suddenly has 18 confirmed cases since things started to open up.  Meanwhile Donald Chump has stated: "We are going to put out the fires.  We're not going to close the country again.  We can put out the fires".  I don't know about you - but I smell smoke and all I have seen so far is our president fanning the flames.  The narcissistic idiot hell bent on getting reelected is about to hold a rally with 20,000 attendees (ignoring the advice of health officials) in a state that is seeing an increase in the infection rate.  (It should be noted that all attendees must sign a waiver admonishing the venue and the president of any liability if they contract the virus there.)  After the first confirmed case in the US, the president said on January 22, "We have it totally under control.  It's one person coming in from China.  We have it under control.  It's going to be just fine."  Tell that to the over 100,000 people who have died in the US so far.  96,100,67,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

a very fast mechanism...

The Field Lab - Wed, 2020/06/17 - 10:01am

79,95,68,0,W
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off to the shop...

The Field Lab - Tue, 2020/06/16 - 1:44pm
89,98,74,0,C
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Vegetable Gardening in Containers

Home Grown New Mexico - Mon, 2020/06/15 - 10:29am

Vegetable Gardening in Containers
by Jannine Cabossel/The Tomato Lady

Whether you’re new to vegetable gardening or an experienced grower, it’s worth considering growing produce in containers this year. We were all caught off guard with the coronavirus pandemic.

With some know-how, you can still find and grow seeds, seedlings, or larger plants in containers. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are best planted as seedlings around May 15 or later. Most veggies like six to eight hours of sun, so find your sunniest location for them. Some cool season vegetables, like lettuce and peas, do better in partial shade. In all cases, when you’re growing in containers rather than in the ground, don’t forget to water more because the soil will dry out faster. Use a mulch like straw to slow evaporation from pot. Consider watering twice a day.

Potatoes growing in a basket. Photo Linda Archibald

Be creative about your containers. You can use any pot-like vessel with holes on the bottom for drainage. If the containers have been used before, sterilize the inside with a solution of two teaspoons bleach in a quart spray bottle of water and rinse well. If pots are new, you don’t have to do this. Use bagged potting soil, not garden soil, which may have pathogens. Completely wet the soil until moist like a damp sponge; it is hard to get many potting soils sufficiently moist. I moisten the potting soil in a bucket first and then I put the moistened soil into containers or pots before planting seeds or plants.

If planting seedlings or plants, place them so the crown, where the leaves come out, is level with the soil; do not cover the crown. When planting tomatoes, however, you can plant about half the length of the plant underground. The hairy stem will grow roots, which makes the plant sturdier. If planting by seeds, follow the depth and spacing on the seed packet.

Where to get seeds, seedlings or plants
Besides nurseries and big box stores, one of the best places to get vegetable seedlings or plants is at the Santa Fe Farmers Market. Many of the farmers there should be offering tomato varieties as well as other vegetable varieties.

Vegetables that do well in containers-most can be grown by seed.
Beans: Grow ‘bush’ varieties instead of vining ones. Put 1 plant in a 10–12-inch
pot. Can been grown by seed.
Cucumbers: Grow ‘bush’ varieties by seed. 1 to 2 plants can fill a 20-inch pot.
Eggplant: Transplant 1 eggplant seedling into a 10–12-inch container. Grow by plant only, not seeds, which take too long to start.
Kale and chard: 1 plant per 10–12-inch container; in longer containers you can put in several. Can be grown by seed or plants.
Leafy greens: Lettuces are among many greens that you can cut the outer leaves off of to eat and later cut again for another meal. Keep cool-season crops in partial shade. Can plant by seed or seedling. They do not need deep containers. There are warm season lettuces called Batavian or Crisphead lettuces that do well here in the summer.
Peas: Put tall supports in the pot when planting the seeds. I like to use sticks for them to grow up on. Grow many peas 2 inches apart in 10–12-inch pot or a long container. Place container in partial shade. It’s too warm now in June to plant peas but you can plant them in the fall again. Plant by seed into pots.
Peppers: Grow bell peppers and hot peppers from plants only, not seeds, which take too long to start. 1 plant per 10–12-inch pot.
Potatoes: Grow in large grow bags or containers. Put 4 inches of soil in bottom of container. Then put potato “seeds” on top of soil, eyes up, and cover with 3 or 4 more inches of soil. As plant grows, cover plant leaves with soil. Do not trim the leaves but bury them; they will grow through the soil. Continue to cover the leaves as they grow until you reach the top of the container. Then just let the leafy parts grow. The potatoes grow in the soil above the original potato seeds while the roots grow down. Harvest when plant starts to die. The Farmers Market is good source of potato seeds.
Radishes: Short or long containers work will for these crops. Plant seeds 2 to 3 inches apart. Plant by seed into pots.
Tomatoes: Grow by plant only, not seeds. Tomato plants need support. Use a tall stake or tomato cage to keep your plants upright. Plant determinate varieties, which typically grow shorter. For each plant use a 5-gallon bucket or equivalent with drainage holes. Plant the stem deep. Determinate tomatoes are perfect for containers.
Zucchini or summer squash: Plant a ‘bush’ variety. A single plant can fill a 24-inch pot. Plant by seed into pots.
Winter squash: Plant a ‘bush’ variety. A single plant can fill a 24-inch pot. Plant by seed into pots.

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Superfood Security is a Seed Away: Doug Fine’s AMERICAN HEMP FARMER is here.

Doug Fine - Mon, 2020/04/13 - 2:54pm

 

Doug Fine’s AMERICAN HEMP FARMER is here.

As are many of us, I’m feeling grateful for a lot of things at the moment. In particular, I’m sure glad it struck the three-years-ago-version-of-me as a fun idea to write an optimistic, humorous book that also provides a blueprint for establishing food security in your backyard.

For whatever reason, folks seem to want “funny” and “uplifting” at the moment. And laughing your way to food security? Seemed like a pleasant route. Still does. I’m doing it today – my fingers are still dank with humus as I type. Hemp farming is pretty easy, it attracts bees, and it’s all around about the most fun you can have outside the bedroom.

What I’m describing (and living) is  my new book, AMERICAN HEMP FARMER. It details a season in the burgeoning and newly-legalized hemp industry from a regenerative farmer perspective. The premise is this: a billion-dollar industry is great, but only meaningful if the actual farmers benefit at the retail level from the hemp renaissance.

For customers, the  win-win is that regenerative farming modes result in by-far the best hemp products. It’s not even close. Like fresh squeezed OJ beats frozen concentrate. All while sequestering carbon.

Turns out we have friends in low places. In nurturing a hemp field, we’re not the only species midwifing our hemp crop by planting time. To name one of a few hundred million, I recently gathered and brewed some fluffy white steaks of my watershed’s mycelium allies (fungus), which my family and I applying to our preseason soil in a compost tea this week.

Which leads to the core reason I wrote the book, from the introduction:

Six years ago, a bear fleeing a wildfire in our New Mexico backyard killed nearly all of my family’s goats in front of our eyes. It wasn’t the bear’s fault: he was a climate refugee. It was June of 2013, and drought had weakened the ponderosa pines and Douglas fir surrounding our remote Funky Butte Ranch. Beetles took advantage, and all of southern New Mexico was a tinderbox. Ho hum, just another climate event that until recently would have been called a “millennial” fire.

That’s the paramount reason I’m an overworked employee of the hemp plant: The people I care about most are one blaze away from joining the world’s 20 million climate refugees. At least I get the pleasure of putting “goat sitter” under occupation on my tax form.

The conflagration convinced me that I had to do something, personally, to work on this climate change problem. After some research about carbon sequestration through soil building, it became clear that planting as much hemp as possible was the best way to actively mitigate climate change and help restore normal rainfall cycles to our ecosystem.

This is why I treasure much more than just hemp’s flower gold rush (CBD, CBG, etc.). I also love hemp seed’s superfood and hemp fiber. It’s why I carry a 3D printed hemp plastic goat nearly everywhere I go.

A biomaterials-based economy doesn’t just perform better in our stuff, it means goodbye Pacific Garbage Patch. That is, when everything, even our batteries, is compostable or reusable (I mention batteries because next-generation hemp-based supercapacitors are discussed in AMERICAN HEMP FARMER).

We actually have been given a realistic opportunity to bridge humanity’s climate stabilization mission with its digital trajectory. In AMERICAN HEMP FARMER, I endeavor to connect the dots in my work, my food, and my whole life, with the thinking that if enough of us do the same, humanity’s got a shot in this here bottom of the climactic ninth.

It’s a solution-based book. Which is to say, it’s chock full of my own mistakes, as well as the triumphs and travails of many of my regenerative farmer friends and colleagues. Michael Pollan argues that we have co-evolved with certain plants, including cannabis. To be sure, hemp/human relations do go back 8,000 years. AMERICAN HEMP FARMER broaches the proud history of government-supported Hemp For Victory gardens going beyond the well-known World War II “Hemp For Victory” effort, all the way back to George Washington himself: in fact, at Mount Vernon last fall, I helped harvest the first hemp crop since President Washington’s time – I did this in colonial clothing and with (trust me) a very sharp sickle.

And that was before nutritionists knew about hemp’s ideal Omega 9-6-3 balance, high mineral content, and rare amount of GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) — a fatty acid associated with anti-inflammatory properties, Whereas my family’s own hemp diet once bankrolled the Canadian economy, for the past there years it’s been free. Hemp got federally legalized in the 2014 Farm Bill, and I and my sons get in the soil at this time every year and grow it ourselves. In AMERICAN HEMP FARMER, you’ll even read about a study that indicates a hemp diet might combat obesity.

Sowing hemp is pretty easy, and the harvest is both copious (around 1,000 pounds per acre) and extremely delicious. And I eat a lot of it. Easily a cup a day. As do both my human kids and my goat kids. Indeed it’s very hard to keep the goats out of the field. Hemp seeds are an essential part not just of my family’s health maintenance plan, but of our food security plan. And anyone can do it.

AMERICAN HEMP FARMER is available everywhere now in book, e-book and audiobook form (I narrated the audiobook, which was super fun). And I hope that you find yourself at once giggling and learning as you read it. You can order it here.

Please feel free to share this Dispatch with your friends, family and professional networks. It would be great for folks everywhere to know that not just food security, but superfood security, is a seed (and a permit) away.

Meanwhile, it’s spring on the Funky Butte Ranch, and as AMERICAN HEMP FARMER advises, I’ve got my own hemp permit application filed, I’m building soil (just as the Funky Butte apricots burst into bloom), and I’m ready to grow another scrumptious crop. I like the feeling of knowing my family will thrive for another year no matter what.  When you read AMERICAN HEMP FARMER, you’ll see that you and yours can too. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy.

Some reviews follow below, and I’m sending immense thanks for your support/ in ordering this book and telling your friends. OK, I’m off to the field to dump more goat poop and alfalfa on the soon-to-be-planted Funky Butte Ranch hemp field

-Doug Fine

Funky Butte Ranch, New Mexico

April 13, 2020

Order AMERICAN HEMP FARMER here

Book Doug’s Live Event here.

 Subscribe to the Dispatches From the Funky Butte Ranch newsletter and follow Doug on Instagram and Twitter @organiccowboy

 

Reviews of AMERICAN HEMP FARMER

American Hemp Farmer would have been in George Washington’s library. President Washington grew hemp and was a passionate, regenerative agriculturist. Washington sought advice from those that practiced their trade. Doug Fine‘s American Hemp Farmer is a scholarly, practical and impeccably enjoyable work and a must-read for those who cultivate hemp or are interested in leaping in.”  –J. Dean Norton, Director of Horticulture, George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate.

“With American Hemp Farmer, Doug Fine shows he is not just our preeminent hemp author, he is one of the most important authors of our time. As I’ve watched him leap between tending goats on his Funky Butte Ranch and hemp fields in Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont and who-knows-where else, it sometimes occurs to me that he might be the most interesting man alive. The resulting book is an absolute must read.  –Eric Steenstra, Executive Director, VoteHemp

“A fantastic piece of Americana that shows the way to a sustainable future.” -David Bronner, CEO, Dr. Bronner’s Soaps

“I hope every hemp farmer and policymaker reads this book carefully. It details a roadmap for success, for farmers and the planet. And that’s probably because Doug doesn’t just write about hemp, he lives it.” —Cary Giguere, State Hemp Program Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

                                  Further Praise for Doug’s Work
“Fine is a writer in he mold of Douglas Adams.” —Washington Post

“Fine is Bryson funny.” —Santa Cruz Sentinel

Doug has written the best book of the year and a blueprint for the future of America.”                       –Willie Nelson

About Doug Fine

Doug Fine is a comedic investigative journalist, bestselling author, and a solar-powered goat herder. He has cultivated hemp for food, farm-to-table products and seed-building in four U.S. states, and teaches a college hemp class. Willie Nelson calls Doug’s work “a blueprint for the America of the future.” The Washington Post says, “Fine is a storyteller in the mold of Douglas Adams.”  A website of Doug’s print, radio and television work, United Nations testimony, Conan and Tonight Show appearances and TED Talk is at dougfine.com and his social media handle is @organiccowboy.

Book Doug’s Live Event here.

 Subscribe to the Dispatches From the Funky Butte Ranch newsletter and follow Doug on Instagram and Twitter @organiccowboy

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs
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