Diriyah Farm Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 6, Soy sauce with ground camel and aphid mummies

Flower Fans

Aphid mummies, the victims of parasitoides are everywhere.

Feb. 6

overveiw of lower garden

Saudi Arabia

Soy sauce with ground camel and aphid mummies

Dinner is simmering on the stove after a monsoon of washing vegetables.  With our camel are caramelized onions and  findee, a bitter green that resembles dandelion.  This is accompanied by the cosmic spirals of Romasesco broccoli with some grated cheddar and new potatoes. The expiration date for the camel meat on the package was written in Arabic. We can only hope it is  good.  It is dark, the curtains are drawn  and the heat is on.  We are both in our pajamas.

We found the farm in fairly good shape.  It has lots of weeds, but nothing like the summer and in manageable quantities.  The greenhouses have some awesome tomatoes and a lot of stunted and diseased ones as well that need attention.  The gargantuan Striped Germans are decorating the TV  before they depart to the Prince’s office tomorrow by special envoy.  The sungold cherry tomatoes are just beginning.  The peas in the greenhouse were a total write off, while the plants outside are fantastic and very productive.  It looks like the broccoli planted in Nov/Dec will probably not head up.  The purple broccoli and romanseco are the biggest plants we have ever seen.  The leaves are almost 3 feet long. There are many greens:  spinach, silak, bitter greens, lettuce of all varieties,  fenugreek,  rashaad (cress),  chard, purple kale, arugala, mizuna, Japanese greens like mei quing pac choi,  also radish, beets broccoli, cauliflower,  fennel, purple carrots, green onions, garlic and more……

Our goal is to get the whole farm weeded and planted for summer which is approaching rapidly.  Nights are about 50 degrees and days from 68- 76.

And on these vegetables are more aphid mummies than I have ever seen.  The tiny parasitic wasps that lay eggs in the aphids are in evidence everywhere. Sryphid flies are in squadrons over the alyssum  and their larvae are also n the leaves.  I found lacewing eggs in the zizyphus tree, and lots of ladybug larvae on the spinach. The farm is coming alive!

The beneficial insect blend is beginning to bloom: alfalfa, cress, alyssum so far.

A number of flowers made it through the winter: pink and white cosmos, alyssum, calendula, amaranth, sunflower.  I have lots to plant for the summer. The fellows were completely against the flowers when I planted them and had ripped them up during the summer.  Now, they can’t get enough of them and frolic among them everyday and have to have their picture taken with them.  I wonder if they have ever seen them before?

The fellows are the farm are rebelling against our preferred work schedule.  They start at 8:00 take a breakfast break at 9:00 for a half hour, lunch from  11:30-2:30, a prayer break  for half hour at 3:00 and quit at 5:00 for prayer at 5:30.  Ben would like them to actually work 8-9 hours a day while we are here.  Tantrums were had and the Princes assistant Saed from Nigeria is coming tomorrow to talk to them.  They were supposed to have a lot of beds ready for our visit but only 5 small ones were finished.

We are running on fumes due to jet lag and now they are running out………

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