Hot and humid, the garden loves it.

Sprout Farm News Letter

Good Morning, it's newsletter time again.

Let's talk tomatoes. We still have a greenhouse full of them but our local population has tripled so our supply can no longer keep up with the demand.Around this time we stop picking tomatoes for a few days to let them ripen on the vine. It won't be long before the field tomatoes will be here, well maybe a little longer than usual due to the crazy spring weather, but when things ripen in the field we will be able to keep up with demand. Cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen so we should be able to help out there.

We have the usual greens, lettuce, kale, Swiss chard,bok choi, cut herbs, arugula, beets, carrots, cabbage, celery, cukes, summer squash, zucchini, green beans and peppers. We've had a small supply of sugar snap peas. Look for them in baggies in the cooler, not in the bins. We are getting sweet cherries from The big Apple Farm in Wrentham and the blueberries and butter and sugar sweet corn come from Sauchuk farm in Plymptom MA (that's west of Plymouth) It's the same situation as the tomatoes, small size farm, large demand. We pick in the morning and by evening the bins can look pretty empty. If it's any consultation, the larger farms off Cape haven't had local tomatoes yet and much of their produce is just as late as ours is.

The Barnstable County Fair is here so you know what that means, It's time to scout for tomato horn worms.

I happened to see a damaged leaf on a cherry tomato plant and thought, “It looks like worm damage but I'm not sure.” I showed the leaf to Jay and a second later I saw the worm clinging to the bottom of the stem. He was almost three inches long and looking very healthy. That didn't last long. We're very familiar with the damage and you never get one moth fluttering into your tomato patch, laying one egg and flying away.

Thankfully, plenty of bad bug artillery exists without having to rely on chemical leftovers from World War II. Below are a few of the better known earth friendly products:

1) Spinosad (found in Captain Jack)

The origins of spinosad came from a pirate’s best friend–a rum distillery- the Mount Gay distillery. While on vacation in the Caribbean in 1982, a scientist discovered a soil dwelling bacterium called Saccharopolyspora spinosa in the abandoned distillery. In 1988, the bacteria was placed in a fermentation broth, producing a compound that has since been formed into an insecticide with the added plus of being a biological pest control organism.

It’s effects are nasty with a perfect 100% mortality rate. When spinosad is sprayed onto bug riddled plants, the nervous system of the target insect (primarily caterpillars, leaf miners, spider mites, and thrips) unravel due to over stimulation. Death comes one to two days after initial ingestion.

Numerous beneficials (ladybugs, predatory mites, lacewings, etc) are not affected by the bacteria although Braconid wasps, praying mantises, and honey bees are susceptible. It is especially toxic to bees, moderately to fish, and only slightly to birds. Phytotoxicity is not an issue with ornamentals or edibles, but check the inserts of individual sprays for length of days between spraying and harvest.

Spinosad also comes in a granular form like Sluggo Plus. Pouring a barrier circle around your favorite leafy can protect them from the diabolical slow chew of the slug.

It was a losing battle to harvest tomatoes before Spinoza, We have it in the form of Captain Jack ready to use spray or concentrate.

Six years ago our daughter Rebecca passed away after a four and a half year battle with breast cancer. She was only thirty eight years old. I don't bring this up to be sad but for some information about early detection you may not be familiar with. This disease is striking more people, men and women, at an earlier age. We are all familiar with mammograms but they are not recommended for young women or men.

First, know your risk factors. It's mostly about the hormones. It's not nice to fool Mother Nature. If you are on or know someone who is taking birth control pills, ask them to read you the insert that comes in every package. This is a long list of risk factors and it may take awhile. Provide a magnifying glass if they ask for one.

If you work in an environment with radiation emitting equipment and you see a line that says, 'Danger do not go beyond this point', don't go beyond that point. Take any and all precaution because radiation loves to snuggle up to soft tissue. These are just two of many risk factors and I deliberately leave out the most controversial one because I don't want to lose any readers.

Do self examinations as recommended but we all know that very few women do these especially if they think they are too young to get breast cancer.

When I started researching this topic, long before Rebecca was diagnosed, I discovered thermography.

Arnold Natural Medicine, Inc.508-255-9141 Orleans (and Sandwich MA)

This screening is done four times a year in Sandwich MA through Dr. Arnold's office in Orleans. Thermography records the temperature of tissue. Cancer cells divide rapidly and therefore have a higher temperature than their surrounding healthy cells. This difference can sometimes be detected years before a lump can be seen on a mammogram. The beauty of this screening is that it can be done at any age by anyone. It is not covered by insurance but it may be a good way to get a baseline breast health checkup if you have high risk factors.

Take care of yourself, everyone. Eat health, eat local.

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