September 11, 2018

It is hard to believe that September is upon us already. It is the peak season and everything we have planted for summer, in addition to our year round crops, is contributing to a crescendo of variety that is hard to keep track of.  I think we counted 58 different food crop items and 7 flower crops on our tables at the farmers markets this week.  It is pretty mind-boggling for a farm our size. Some might think it’s insane but there is a bit of method to this big bunch of madness. Diversity as a strategy for organic/ecological pest control is one of the best ways to mimic how nature creates its own balance and thus be less dependent on conventional forms of control. 
 
We humans have gone through an evolution of food production that likely started out using natural systems in very small localized conditions. Then as agriculture became more widespread, it went through phases of trial and error until we reached what we thought was the pinnacle of modern science. In this mass production scale mono-cropping type of agriculture, success was achieved for a time by trying to control every aspect of the food system regardless of what was going on around it. What was going on around it was nature starting to fight back by trying it’s best to repopulate ecological diversity with its natural control agents, namely insects, weeds and diseases. Man succeeded for a time in suppressing nature. This success is now seen as temporary as it has become harder and harder to fend off ever more resistant diseases and pests in the agricultural sphere by having to develop more powerful forms of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Much of agriculture, even conventional,  is starting to take notice and is implementing biological controls more and more, not because of appearances but because they actually work in the long term. The old adage that “Nature knows best” still applies.
 
Speaking of nature, the climate is being fickle this year. The usual summer heat we get near the coast in September is not showing up so far but we are hoping to see some sunnier weather before the end of the month arrives.  In the meantime, enjoy the bounty and the diversity!