News from Riverdog Farm

From diverse crop plantings and crop rotation to integrated pest management, Capay Valley farmers use a variety of methods to keep their crops healthy. This week we wanted to feature some of the ways Riverdog Farm deals with early summer challenges. 

A very important organic farming tool comes to mind when I pass the young summer crops now in the fields. Kaolin clay, processed into a fine particulate state, is made into a solution and sprayed on plants in the genus Cucurbita. Cultivated varieties in this genus (winter and summer squash and cucumbers) are a favorite food among the local diabrotica beetle populations. These little insects have the capacity to cause incredible damage. The adults eat young and tender leaves and stems, act as carries to bacterial wilt organisms, and lay eggs on the undersides of leaves. Once hatched, the larvae head underground to feed on the plant’s roots. The Kaolin solution combats these pests in a simple and wildly successful manner. After it is sprayed and allowed to dry, the solution leaves a light film on leaves. This film changes the reflected light frequency, which renders the plant unrecognizable to the beetle eye. Picture a beetle munching away on a cucumber leaf –healthy, happy and well fed. Now picture Brian rolling by with our sprayer applying the clay solution. Still healthy, the beetle now has no idea where the plant is and flies away.

Any given week, weather permitting, you’ll see a sprayer attached to one of our Kubota 9540 tractors, making rounds. Quite often the mix in the tank will be formulated to combat thrips and aphids. This mix, affectionately called salad dressing by Brian the Sprayer, contains cottonseed/corn oil, garlic oil, and citric acid. The cottonseed and/or corn oil acts as a suffocant, impairing breathing for the soft-bodied insect pests. The garlic oil is used for its antifungal properties, and the citric acid is included to adjust the ph of our water.

From Riverdog Farm


We are a network of over 40 small, family farms that offers 100% local, seasonal food.


Our pick-up locations.
We currently serve the San Francisco Bay Area through public and private pick-up sites. Our public sites include: San Francisco Avedano's and Cheese Plus, Palo Alto Calafia Cafe, Redwood City The Grind.