A farmer’s perspective 7/16/2012

Dahinda, IL:  Although there was a little rain, 1/10″, over the weekend, it is still very dry. We really need a good soaking rain to bring the rainfall amounts up to normal. Hopefully we will get more before I start planting fall crops but we will be back in the upper 90’s this week.  I tried several different types of eggplant this year in our hoophouse. The eggplant does better in the hoophouse since it seem that the pests that attack eggplant, such as flea beetles, do not like the hoop house environment.

The eggplant varieties that seem to do the best in the hoophouse are the Italian varieties, several of the white types and a long green variety called Louisiana Long Green Eggplant. Apparently the Louisiana Long Green Eggplant is less bitter than the normal black varieties. I have never tried them before but they seem to be the most vigorous out of the bunch this year. We should start to see them in the CSA bags in the next couple of weeks.

The Melrose Peppers that we have will be coming on strong very soon. Melrose is a variety developed by Italian truck farmers in the Chicago area, especially in Melrose Park,  about a century ago. The variety we have was bred to be larger than the normal Melrose by a man in Melrose Park, Illinois.  Our tomato crop seems to be stalled. It is probably due to the lack of rain. There are many fruits on the vine but they do not seem to want to get ripe. They should start ripening soon and we will have a lot then!

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