Thanks to the warmest winter in Austin, we’ve had a solid 12 weeks of abundant harvests. The farm has the look and feel of the end of June rather than the beginning. Flowers have turned to seed. Grasses have started to turn brown and bend down with heavy heads. Everything is peaking and summer hasn’t even started.
And now come the bugs. The down side of a mild winter is now writ large over our beautiful plants. Back in February, when we had some highs in the 90s, harlequin bugs ravaged our greens. Now it’s the leaf-footed bugs and they are destroying our tomatoes and more.
Other farmers have commented on this year’s infestation being the worst in recent memory. In a matter of days, these flat-footed soldiers have marched down rows of trellised plants and speared each and every tomato — a slow death that is hard to watch and which explains why you will be having so many green tomatoes in the shares.
One of the few summer crops that seems impervious to both bug and disease is okra. You’ll start getting it in next week’s share, along with green beans and peppers.
We are having all kinds of company in the fields, including this rat snake that refused to leave the squash row and held its ground as I approached.
This weekend’s storms were all bark and little bite out here in Bastrop. Made for impressive clouds.
One of my favorite jobs at the city farm is taking students on an impromptu tour and testing them on their knowledge of flora and fauna. We stopped here on a grandfather post oak that serves as a resting place for goats — and kids.