Possibly Botrytis on my Beans!
Hello from the apprentices…or the apprentii as we have been come to know around the farm.
August has come and almost passed. We are deep into the weeks of a harvest-packed walk-in cooler (almost to the point we can’t get in). The beans won’t stop producing their bounty (Bean Fest anyone?), the cherry tomatoes are in full swing and the cabbage heads are sizing up. It is a full on abundance.
Most plants seem to reaching their maximum production, however in the midst of their climb to this peak, stirs the sense of the immanence of a wind down. Already we are talking amongst our group of the wrap up of the season and what we need to do on the farm at the tail end of the year. Most confronting and daunting is the talk of what we as apprentices will do once the course concludes on November 1st. More conversations are being had about the probability of going and doing our own thing next season. Ee gads!
Back to the farm and our ‘learnings’ over the last few weeks. We have been delving into the world of pests and plant pathogens and all things that ail plants. Becky, a former apprentice who had to dip out of the course earlier on due to other commitments, came by to give us a pest ID session. She has masters in agricultural pest management and therefore is the ultimate expert on the subject. We walked the farm armed with our magnifying glass and some jars, finding numerous pests; their pupae, their larvae and fully metamorphed selves.
We are now studying the diseases that plants can succumb to. What amazes me about these potential plant ‘enemies’ is that on close inspection they are actually everywhere. Prolific you might say. But the key thing to note is that the damage they cause is actually relatively benign, as long at the plants’ strength and resistance is up to snuff. I am learning that it is a delicate dance between pathogen/pest virulence and host/plant resistance.
In fact the survival of the pest or pathogen most often depends upon the survival of its host –the plant. Without which, it would spell its own demise. As enemies, ironically, there is a certain reliance on each other. Perhaps we have it wrong and they aren’t actually enemies at all. I have pondered this thought and I am not sure of the answer. Maybe we need to be content with the fact that we may not have all the answers and that it is okay to accept the mystery of inter-relations in the natural world.
Powdery Mildew on My Squash