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Integrated Pest Management
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Sunday, 10 June 2012 17:52

Potato FlowersThis spring I’ve been practicing what is known as Integrated Pest Management. In other words, I’m working to keep 6-legged pests out of the growing space by means other than spraying with insecticides and pesticides. There are several ways to go about this. You can cover plants with a special material; you can hatch predator insects (wasps, praying mantises, lady bugs, etc.) to help fight off the bugs you don’t want around; or you can do what I’ve been doing twice a day… taking a walk through the high tunnel with enough gumption, my forefinger and thumb ready, to squish larvae, cabbage worms, and other pests that prey on asparagus ferns, kale, and many of the flowers. I don’t like to kill anything, but when an entire crop is wiped out, you realize that it’s your job as a farmer to cultivate the plants and growing space, even if that means controlling a certain insect population. I mean, I control watering, I prune the plants, I stake them, I feed them… so why not offer some control over insects that threaten all of that hard work?

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The First Muse Newsletter - Week 1, June 5
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Tuesday, 05 June 2012 00:00

First Delivery Basket

Dear Friends,

Happy First Day of the CSA! We are delivering to Cornerstone Coffeehouse around 2pm, if not before. You can pick up your produce and flowers in the alcove by the stairwell next to the side entrance of the coffeehouse. If you enter through the front, just walk down the hallway and you’ll see it on your left before the culinary kitchen.

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CSA Starts Next Week
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Friday, 01 June 2012 00:00

Tunnel June 2012Greetings, Friends of First Muse,

Our CSA begins this coming Tuesday, June 5, 2012 – we are excited about getting the season underway! As a reminder, we are delivering the baskets of produce to Cornerstone Coffeehouse on Market Street in Camp Hill on Tuesdays by 2pm. Please read more details on that here.

It has been a tremendous spring. The high tunnel is lush and overflowing with abundance.  I’m happy to announce that we already have flowers blooming and have been enjoying them for nearly 2 weeks. Tomatoes are about the size of golf balls (well, the cherry and grape ones are about the size of a dime). Squash are coming in fast and we are already eating cucumbers at least once a day! The potato plants are nearly 3 feet tall and I’ve mounded them with compost and straw so they won’t fall over. Five of the seven heirloom varieties are in bloom! Yep, seven varieties of potatoes. Three of them are purple! One is called Colorado Rose. And one is an heirloom fingerling that French chefs adore. The flea beetles seem fond of it, too, more than any of the other varieties. Garlic is in its final stages of growth. There are eight heirloom varieties of garlic coming your way! 240 bulbs in all.

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Going to Church
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Thursday, 19 April 2012 18:20

Tunnel Garlic Jimmy MowerThe mighty Gothic plant cathedral, aka the high tunnel, is exploding with life once again. Who said it? "Tickle the earth with a hoe and it will laugh with a harvest." Maybe Thoreau. Well, whoever it was must have been humbled by the graciousness of our earth and the bounty the soil brings. I know I am. I've spent several days this week with my knee pads strapped on, leaning over the raised beds and doing what I love best. They really should provide knee pads in Catholic church. Here in the valley, we wear our own. Without them, my hips and knees ache so badly I can hardly get out of bed in the morning.

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Church Attendants
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Tuesday, 17 April 2012 00:00

Hatching MantisWhile I was clipping wild rose vines a week or so ago, I found 4 praying mantis cocoons. I moved them to the Gothic Plant Cathedral and they began hatching this week. Ooooh, what a cuties! They are so tiny and look like a grain of basmati rice with green eyes. They hung out in the chives for a while and have now made their way around the high tunnel. I hope a few of them stick around to help me keep the insect population down. With the mild winter we had, I'm not sure quite what to expect from the diverse population of 6-legged friends.

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