Keepin' Up with LIG
Monday
Dec192011

Pecan Weevil Blues

Our first Johnston County farm-related project: manage a one-acre pecan grove with a rather nasty pecan weevil infestation.  

The grove:

The weevils:

 

These little buggers chew through the pecan husk and shell, feed on the nuts, and lay their eggs in the nuts.  Their young'uns are born in the nuts, eat the nuts from the inside out, emerge from the nuts, and then hang out underground until they grow up and keep the family tradition rolling right along.  This obviously causes a bit of a problem if your intention is to harvest the nuts for human consumption.

As we began problem-solving the situation, we read and heard of strategies involving chemical pesticides.  However, we wanted to take all reasonable steps to avoid use of substances that would pose a threat to us, anyone who eats the nuts, or the land.  We read an article through SARE that reported on the promise of biological treatment using a commercially-produced strain of Beauvaria bassiana, a naturally-occurring fungus lethal to weevils.  We purchased the product (Botanigard) and made the recommended trunk applications at the recommended times and waited...only to find the weevils laughing heartily at our futile attempt and eating a good 90-95% of the nuts we harvested.  

We now find ourselves with a half-bushel/ac. yield of pecans and apparently some more strategizing left to do.  We've done some brainstorming...bite the bullet for a one-time heavy pesticide application to knock out the weevils?  Continued heavy application of Beauvaria bassiana?  Station a few hundred chickens on weevil patrol in the pecan grove?  We have until next July to develop a plan, so if anyone happens to have any nuggets of wisdom, speak up...

So as to end on a positive note, we'd like to report on one wonderful discovery that we've made during our crash-course in pecan production and harvesting.  The Nut Wizard is an ingenious tool for picking pecans from the ground.  Of all of the manual pecan harvesting tools we came across, it seemed to best combine simplicity and efficiency.   We have not been disappointed.  See the Nut Wizard in action here and purchase it here.

Take care,

Michael

Saturday
Oct222011

It's all happening...

"It's all happening"...a beautiful phrase from one of my all-time favorite movies (Almost Famous) that always comes to mind when I'm in the midst of events so exciting and wonderfully scripted that they seem like they should be in a movie themselves.  It is indeed all happening for Caroline and I right now.  We are about to make some major life changes that we have arrived at through many and varied circumstances, epiphanies, and decisions and with the help of many people, knowingly and unknowingly, along the way.  Within a few months, we will be starting the process of relocating to Johnston County, NC, about 45 minutes southeast of Raleigh.  Upon this move, we will begin a small farming operation on some land adjacent to where we'll be living that will include a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and animals.  Our reasons for following this path are rooted in several issues which we will touch on in posts to follow.  For now, I will end our first post with a GIS image of the land that we will be working and shaping into our farmstead.

That is our blank canvas.  

Take care,

Michael

Page 1 ... 1 2 3 4