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Farm News, July 25, 2018. Wendy

Critter News: The House Wrens have been very industrious lately, flying in and out of their house. The male will hop out onto the perch and fluff his feathers importantly before flying away. The female is less ceremonious in her comings and goings. With as much movement as there is it is unlikely that there are eggs. From what I have read, it is more likely that the male has convinced the female that this is a good spot to nest, and so they are both building a home. Apparently the male will build up to 6 "starter homes" to try to convince the female that this is the right one. Apparently she has acquiesced, and so hopefully I will see baby heads poking up within a month or so.

Although I haven't seen the mother Hummingbird at her nest for over a week, the babies are growing, so clearly she is visiting. I'm including a picture that shows two little beaks sticking up out of the nest. The Japanese Beetles are finally arriving en masse. We are collecting them with a lure in a five gallon bucket, which I empty out every now and then. In between times, we are crunching them between green bean and potato leaves. The Colorado Potato Beetles aren't as bad as previous years, thus far. We are also finding a healthy number of Ladybugs near them, a natural predator. So this makes me very happy! There is another large, wasp-like creature that I am seeing in the potatoes as well, and I wouldn't be surprised if it were also a predator, although I haven't been able to find it in any on-line predator searches I've done.

Farm News: Once again, it is transition time. Chloe and I spent a large chunk of the day yesterday planting in the greenhouse: spinach, chard, broccoli, leeks, kohlrabi, kales, lettuce, and more. Most of these are fall plantings, but some of them will carry on into the winter as well. Last Thursday before the rains, we also did a lot of outdoor planting and transplanting: cucumbers, green beans, lettuce, daikon, carrots and such.

We're also having people transitions. Several of our CSA members have moved away, sadly. We will miss them! New people will join in with fall shares. And Ethan Steffes is in his last week with us before moving to Pennsylvania. He will be bringing some of our wares to the farmers market in Richmond this Saturday.

The tomatoes are ripening with increased volume: we now have a respectable number of heirlooms. Our earlier plantings of fall carrots have germinated, as have fall beets. The peppers are slowly sizing up, and the leeks aren't that far from being ready.

I decided to clear out a bed of kohlrabi that just aren't sizing up. They were transplanted after it got hot, and although they are sweet and juicy, they are in a holding pattern as far as size. They are a bit unsightly, as the insects have been attracted to them. But since they are eaten peeled, the appearance is not so important. If you aren't familiar with kohlrabi, they are a vegetable that is being rediscovered. They are similar in taste to the inside of a broccoli stalk, but are sweeter and juicier. You can simply peel them, slice them, and eat them raw as I did to confirm that they were good. Or here is a link to a slaw that uses kohlrabi, Or you could use them in any slaw recipe that you prefer. Here is a link to a roasted kohlrabi recipe that is very easy:

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