Just when you think that you have seen it all in 25 years of farming some new wrinkle appears. We are in a pitched battle with some kind of varmit who is eating all the ripening tomatoes in the little tunnels! Don’t be messin’ with my tomatoes! In the past we have found a few things (mostly melons) with tooth marks in them and only one or two a year, but this critter is having a grand old time working it’s way up and down the rows eating or biting into a dozen or so a night. We put traps in the tunnels a few nights ago and caught a possum and thought OK problem solved but yesterday morning someone had been having a picnic again and the trap was tripped but no one inside! So now they are getting crafty, maybe a raccoon? We upped the ante baiting the trap with peanut butter (the universal food used to attract all wild things from mice to buffalo) and now slices of apple. If this doesn’t get some results then we may have to surround the tunnels with the electric net fencing we use for the turkeys and that will keep them out but also make it harder for us to get in and work. I am not yet ready to sleep out there with the gun but I mean we are talking about the first tomatoes of the season here!
What a great rain on Saturday night, we had an inch and a half that seemed to all soak in. Now we can not only let the pond fill back up a bit but we can also get some things planted that just didn’t make sense to do unless there was some moisture in the soil. Tuesday we finally planted the quarter acre of winter squash (acorns, butternut, spaghetti, sweet dumpling) which should come up nicely now that we had an additional bit of rain last night too. A bit late to get the squash in the ground as our rule is it needs to be planted in May otherwise we lose the fruit to pickle worms in August. But it was just too dry the last few weeks to get them germinated and it is one of the crops that I don’t plan on irrigating, especially when we are watering the rest of the farm and running low on water. So we’ll see, maybe the first of June will be OK and we will slip past the flights of the pickle worm moths. It is seasonal change here on the farm, cool season crops coming out and the beginning of the harvest of the warm season ones. Peas and pea fences came down yesterday, the irrigation lines came out of the larkspur and bachelors buttons, soon all will be mowed and turned under ready for the summer soil improving cover crops.