Lights, Kohlrabi,…Action. This is the week we finally got electricity at the farm. Up until now we have been watering off generator power and haven’t been able to utilize our wells to their full potential. Of course we haven’t needed to do much watering with all the rain in May. This week, however, summer decided to show up to the party and the plants really began to take off. We got to use one of our new tractor implements, the Wunderbar Cultivator, which essentially weeds the walking aisles beside the crop rows. And Jeff’s Malamute, Airy, had a chance encounter with a huge black snake which Jeff caught on video. Don’t worry, no animals were harmed in the making of that film.

The plants are loving all the sunshine and now we are really starting to do some picking. We harvested 250 lb of kale (curly and tuscan), 60 lb of rainbow swiss chard, 150 bok choi, and about 1000 heads of lettuce. With each one I keep telling myself, “wow that’s the most beautiful head of lettuce I’ve ever seen.

As for our planting schedule this week we got in our first row of basil, more lettuce and beans. About 400 pepper plants (a nice mix of red, orange, and yellow bells, although they all start green), bull horns, and hot hungarian wax. Also, 250 eggplant ranging from the hefty italian black varieties to the dainty, waifish fairytale. We planted about 250 more cucumbers, (slicing, persian, and pickle varieties), although unfortunately these will need to be the replacements for the 250 we lost. We are sad to announce that our first planting is no longer with us, they were casualties of a particularly cold night in May and a freak accident involving gusty winds and about 6000 square feet of row cover. May they rest in peace.

For the most part we held the pests at bay until the end of this week when we noticed areas of flea beetle pressure on bok choi and eggplant. It’s funny how certain breeds of insects have particular tastes. We addressed those isolated areas with an organically approved agent called, PyGanic, whose active ingredient derives from the chrysanthemum. It seems to have done the trick. Also we had the notion to apply an organically approved agent for sunscreen and pest management called Surround WP on our baby transplants before putting them in the ground. It sort of felt like we were getting a school of kids ready for the beach or summer camp with sunscreen and bug spray. The active ingredient in Surround is caolin clay. It’s non-toxic, tiny white particles block out the UV rays and create an undesirable barrier between the leaf of the plant and the predatory critter. It leaves a white film which rinses of quite easily in water.

That’s about it for this week. Next week we hope to start picking napa cabbage (so get those kimchi recipes handy) and kohlrabi. Make sure to drop by the stands, (Jones Mill is open daily, and Mass Ave on weekends, Tilden will open in a couple weeks); to get up close and personal with the stars of our story, the vegetables.

Farmer John

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