2015, Week 25

Silver Queen Sweet Corn available at Renfrow Farms Market tomorrow!
Our friend Pat was one of the founding members of the Matthews Farmers Market in 1992. We are excited that he will be partnering with Renfrow Farms to offer select crops, including this corn.


 The temperatures last week were brutal, and this week looks even hotter.  While that is a nuisance for us as we work, we are able to manage by working early in the day and late in the evening, taking a few hours off mid-afternoon if needed.

The much greater concern in this heat is for our crops. When temperatures are consistently in the upper nineties, the plant all but ceases to photosynthesize and merely tries to survive. This means low fruit set and minimal growth. So while we have finally begun harvesting small amounts of our very first cucumbers, eggplant, okra, green beans, and peppers (all of which can be found at Renfrow Farms Market this week!) we will probably have a decreased yield in these items a few weeks down the road because the plants are dropping their blossoms and not making fruit because they’re too busy trying to stay alive. Much of our week was spent driving back and forth from Renfrow’s, filling up our large water tank that is currently our only affordable means of irrigation, just to keep these plants alive and healthy.

One crop that absolutely LOVES hot weather is the cowpea. Here is our newest field, freshly plowed and planted for the very first timelast Wednesday. And by the weekend, all of these rows of cowpeas were up and growing!! This field is our largest one by far, and is increasing our growable space by about 1/3, which is really exciting!
The garden pests are out in full-force so we released a massive amount of ladybugs, one of nature’s most beneficial insects, to be our natural way of controlling some of these damaging insect populations.  We sell ladybugs at Renfrow Hardware throughout the gardening seasons. The best time to set out ladybugs is just before dark, and ideally on a damp evening after a thunderstorm. Ladybugs are voracious eaters and reproducers, consuming at least 5,000 aphids in their short lifetime, which fuels the females to lay hundreds and hundreds of eggs.