To get rid of the bugs, hand-picking usually works in a garden as it’s not so large as to take more than an hour or two per week for a few weeks in the summer. It is recommended that you wait to plant sweet potatoes/yams a few weeks after the last frost. At this point, it’s a good idea to use row covers for about 2 weeks until the moths disappear again. Normally, a good compost will provide most of the Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium your yams will need. Sweet potatoes need a good supply of Zinc. The main reason I’m bringing this up is that I think that a skipper and first mate need to understand that there is very likely a difference between how each relates to their boat. I’ve heard more than one first mate say. More than anything, sweet potatoes and yams love warmth, and nothing provides that as well as full sunlight for as many hours in the day as they can get it, but a bare minimum of 6 hours daily.
Pumpkins require at the very least 6 hours of full sunlight daily. They can do well in warmer Southern climates in partial shade, but again, make sure they get their 6 hour daily minimum. Your growing season should be all days total that are over a minimum temperature of 50F. Your best bet will be to talk to your seed expert at your local garden center about which varieties do well in your temperate zone. When you talk to your local seed expert, also ask for disease resistant varieties such as the “White Regal” sweet potato that shows resistance to fusarium wilt, southern root-knot nematode, internal cork virus, sclerotial blight, and cucumber beetles. If plants become infested, spraying organic pesticides such as Beauveria bassiana or spinosad may knock back the population of flea beetles and save your plants. You can also make an organic fungicide spray using bicarbonate of soda (baking soda). You’ll want to make sure you grow strawberries suited to your area.
The item of first importance in choosing seeds for growing sweet potatoes and yams in your area will be the length of your growing season. The most common varieties are “June-bearing” strawberries, a bit of a misnomer in our Northern climate zone as we generally get the bulk of our berries in the first week of July. Talk among the first mates does revolve around cruising–how could it not when it’s the lifestyle we are steeped in? Also avoid areas where tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, or eggplant have been planted as well; these plants may have infected the soil with Verticillium Wilt, which many strawberries are susceptible to. But I have never seen the women get defensive or belligerent in the course of comparing notes with their sea sisters. I’ve seen guys nearly come to blows over a piece of equipment–they act as if they are defending their honor, their reputation, their loved one. How can I think of boat in strictly mechanical terms when she seems to gallop over the waves like a horse kept too long in the stall, or stubbornly refuses to pull her nose through the wind?
I’ve seen this gender-separation over and over again in the cruising village. I’ve also seen conversations get very heated when there is a difference of opinion about a particular tactic or piece of equipment-a few times I half expected the warring parties to “take it outside.” I often sit by and watch these conversations, fascinated by the degree to which the skippers appear to have invested themselves, who they are, into their boats. I say this after living with three boats and three boys, and I say it with a sort of fascination. The tips we swap are more often hints-from-Heloise type things-how to get rid of mildew inside the cabin, how to keep weevils from ruining the flour, that sort of thing. Northern varieties are usually grown in raised beds with black plastic “mulch” to keep the soil warm and promote stronger growth. In the North, cover the raised rows with black plastic to keep the soil warm and promote strong growth.