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Wet and Wild-life

September 24, 2011

As the seasons change over we are enjoying a little more time in the field to notice some of our neighbors. All the damp weather lately has really changed the makeup of the flora and fauna in the fields.  In flora many crops are dissolving away under the weather stress while others like lettuce and broccoli begin to flourish. It can’t be a coincidence that all sorts of amphibians have been making themselves apparent lately while our land based fauna have gotten a little tired of tromping through the mud in the fields.

Just a big old frog in the beets

I told you about the influx of frogs last week as we were noticing so many new waterfowl around the Standish ponds. Well they are certainly present, hopping among the veggies we are still picking seeming to be especially fond of the beets. The extravagant mosquito buffet  also present may have something to do with that as well.

This tiny guy has been working his way out of the nest under our bean and lettuce crops for nearly 4 months.

The snapping turtles which were laid as eggs back in early June are starting to hatch out as well. They are so tiny they aren’t easily apparent but we have found a few out in he field and even one moseying around the greenhouse. These we have transported closer to the brook side of the field to give them a head start on the hawks.

Blue Spotted Salamander in the Squash Field.

The coolest find of the week has been a Blue Spotted Salamander, not entirely rare but right on the edge of its range here in Needham. It was shuffling around in the mud under some winter squash out in the pumpkin patch at the Standish Fields. We left it alone to find another hiding spot, but hopefully we get a chance to meet more of them in the future.

Cute and bizarre all at once.

So this doesn’t have to be all about the animals. As far as vegetables go we have started picking a brand new crop of beans and lettuce today. This is our first “late” crop of lettuce, which means summer heat standbys like Salad Bowl will step out and make room for Grand Rapids Green Leaf. We will also see the return of Flashy Trout Back spotted Romaine lettuce.

Broccoli and Cauliflower are coming in steady, and hopefully we can start our newest carrot crop in the next week. We are still picking small amounts of Summer Squash although Cucumbers have met their match with that last cold spell.  Corn is still ripening and we will have enough to pick several more weeks.

Speaking of carrots, here is a fat and juicy black swallowtail butterfly larvae chomping away on some carrot greens in the new crop.

Thanks for keeping us busy, and we’ll be sure to keep you in veggies and critter photos right through the season.

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