alliums ameraucana Anthony Bourdain aphids Appleseed Permaculture aquaponics arthritis artichokes Asian Vegetables aussie basil baby chicks baby turnips bearss lime bee keeping beet greens beneficial insects benner tree farm Biochar Bitter Melon blight blooming hill farm boothby blonde cucumber brix broccoli brussels sprouts cabbage cabbage hill farm camp hill farm cancer caraflex celeriac chicken coop chickens children chinese tamale chives cilantro cilantro root coconut cold frames collard greens Compost coriander corn crop rotation cruciferous crucifers cucumber Dan Barber dan kittredge Dave Llewellyn detox dirty dozen dragon fruit Dutch white clover dwarf citrus eggplant Elderberries factory farms farm to table farmer's market farmers markets Fava beans ffarm to table fish oil flea beetle flowers food allergies food combining food miles founding farmers four wind growers Fred Kirschenmann french bulldog G6pd deficiency garlic garlic festival garlic scapes geese Glynwood grass-fed beef Great Outdoors Listening Tour green tomatoes greenhouse growing indoors Hanalei Hemlock Hill Farm heritage turkey heritage USA hudson valley farms hurricane Irene hyssop iced tea infections influenza Insect control isothiocyanates joan gussow jolie lampkin joong kaffir lime kale Kauai kohlrabi korean licorice mint Ladybugs late blight leeks lettuces local food locust tree maine avenue fish market menhaden meyer lemon mycelia mycorrhizal natural fertilizers nectary nightshades No Reservations Nurse cropping nutrient density okra organic Baby food organic christmas tree Organic Pest Control Parsley Paul tappenden peas Permaculture pesticides pesto petite watermelon plant sap pH plymouth barred rock pole beans potatoes preserving food purple basil qunice Radish Greens rainbeau ridge farm raised beds rampicante raw food real food campaign red hook Rockland Farm Alliance ronnybrook farm row covers salt-preserved duck eggs sambucus nigra seed saving seedlings Sheet mulching small space soil analysis soil blocks soil conductivity sorrel Squash Vine Borer star fruit sugar snap peas sustainability sustainable fishing Swiss Chard tabbouleh TEDx Manhattan terracing three sisters tomato sauce tomatoes trellis trovita orange turkana farms Tuttle Farm urban zen volt white clover winter harvest Winter Squash Young Farmers Conference
Indispensable Books and Resources
  • Edible Forest Gardens (2 volume set)
    Edible Forest Gardens (2 volume set)
    by Dave Jacke, Eric Toensmeier
  • The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses
    The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses
    by Eliot Coleman
  • The Biological Farmer: A Complete Guide to the Sustainable & Profitable Biological System of Farming
    The Biological Farmer: A Complete Guide to the Sustainable & Profitable Biological System of Farming
    by Gary F. Zimmer
  • The Garden Primer: Second Edition
    The Garden Primer: Second Edition
    by Barbara Damrosch
  • 1500 Live LadyBugs - A GOOD BUG! - Lady Bug
    1500 Live LadyBugs - A GOOD BUG! - Lady Bug
    Organic Insect Control
  • Acres U.S.A.
    Acres U.S.A.
    Acres U.S.A.

    The best farming and growing magazine money can buy!

  • Seed Starter Soil Block Maker Makes 4 Medium Blocks
    Seed Starter Soil Block Maker Makes 4 Medium Blocks

    2" Soil Blocker

  • Mini Soil Blocker
    Mini Soil Blocker
  • New York City Farmer & Feast: Harvesting Local Bounty
    New York City Farmer & Feast: Harvesting Local Bounty
    by Emily Brooks
  • What Doctors Eat: Tips, Recipes, and the Ultimate Eating Plan for Lasting Weight Loss and Perfect Health
    What Doctors Eat: Tips, Recipes, and the Ultimate Eating Plan for Lasting Weight Loss and Perfect Health
    by Tasneem Bhatia, Editors of Prevention







Short journal entries detailing the nuts and bolts of our ventures in growing food at our micro-farm

Entries in Organic Pest Control (2)


Spring Has Sprung: The Year Ahead

Well, this isn't what you would expect for the second day of spring.  Forecast calls for even more snow today and tomorrow.  Though St. Patrick's day is the usual signal for us to get the peas into the ground, snow on the very last day of winter has deferred our plans giving us a little more time to plan.

This year we have decided to forego our seedling sales at the farmers markets and local plant sales and concentrate efforts on really perfecting things on our micro-farm.  It's a bittersweet decision.  We are relieved that the hard work that starts from February and ends around Memorial Day will come to an end but we are sad at losing that seasonal connection we have with our community.  We've already gotten so many emails from people who have grown our plants in the previous seasons, wondering if we'll be doing them again.  Marie from Nyack told us that she was only able to grow a certain Italian eggplant with our seedlings because of their strength and vitality; prior to that she had tried many times and failed.  This makes me a bit sad, but with a toddler, I have the pull the reigns in and prioritize!

So the key words for this season are "simplicty and abundance".  With that in mind, we're opting for less maintenance and more permenance. For example, we made our greenhouse just a place for dwarf citruses: Sweet navel orange called "Trovita", "Golden Nugget" mandarin orange, Bearss Lime, Keffir Lime and Meyer Lemon trees.  We found a great source for them at Four Winds Growers in California.  They were really exceptional at helping us choose what would work in the ground in a permanent greenhouse and we look forward to citrus fruits winter through summer.

Where we were growing things for large yields, we realized that you can actually have too much garlic.  We are trimming back on the amount of garlic grown and using beds to plant low yield veggies that we're interested in like artichokes.  We already started to seed them.  They are tricky to germinate because they need to spend 8 hours in temps of 85 degrees and the rest of the time in temps of 70 degrees.  A heatmat in the greenhouse will serve as a place for those alternating temperatures naturally.

Our Plymouth Barred Rock and Ameraucana. The Ameraucana just went through a period of broodiness which we were able to break.New chickens will be integrated to our current flock that has been whittled down to 5 chickens after some illnesses and predator attacks (one that included our own dog).  There's an art to integrating them so hopefully that will go smoothly.  Two years ago we ordered day old chicks from Ideal Poultry in Texas and they were sexed properly - we didn't get one rooster!  Look for updates in late spring... Speaking of animals, we are also toying with the idea of getting a cat to help keep the chipmunks and squirrels at bay this year but the thought of one more life to care for at this moment is definitely making me hesitate.

And finally, we want to better manage what we have already planted for the best yields.  That means really paying attention to pruning and training especially after a year of grape vines gone wild.  And we'll also continue more with the nutrient density soil management we were on top of before the baby came into our lives.  Hopefully this mama will get back on track continuing the blogs about what we do here after a short hiatus due to sleep deprivation.

Even "dwarf" citruses can grow up to 12 feet. Ideally they should be planted 4-5 feet from each other at the very least.

Happy Spring and may this season bring you simplicity and abundance!





Pest of the Month: Squash Vine Borer 

SVB moths. They appear more like wasps when they fly.In our first growing year we grew an abundance of winter squash.  It was so easy to amass this large quanity of storage fruits for the winter.  The second and third year proved to be a big disappointment as we were invaded by the nasty squash vine borer (SVB).  It attacks plants as a moth laying eggs at the base of leaf stalks.  The larvae then develop into these gross looking light green catepillars that burrow themselves into the healthy large stems of squash plants.  The first sign that something is wrong is the the appearance of wilting leaves.  It looks like you forgot to water your patch of squash.  Upon closer inspection of the base of the main stem you will find your stems gouged open with several SVBs inside happily munching away and slowly killing your plant the many young fruits attached to the vines.  Burrowing SVB catepillarI have literally picked these bugs out and tortured them on a nearby rock.  They have killed off so many of my squash crops that I've taken it personally.  After removing the pests, it is possible to bury the damaged area in the soil and it will reroot but I've never been able to keep up with it and eventually give up losing the patch.


This year we are trying something else: using a row cover to prevent the moth from laying its eggs at the base of the stalk.  After planting a variety of winter squash: red kuri, buttercup, butternut and delicata we set a floating row cover on all the plants.  It's mid June and this is the time the SVB moth starts egg laying.  If you do get this nasty pest, remember not to compost the vines at the end of the season but to throw them out in the garbage.

We use a lightweight fabric cover made by Agribon

We're not the only ones doing this.  This is a squash field at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York, also covered with a row cover.  We are wondering weather or not this is going to present a problem with pollination, however.  Our squash just started to flower...  Another experiment we'll report back with.


Stone Barns use of a row cover on the their field of winter squash