Newsletter - June 2015

It has been a kind spring for planting and sowing, with spells of dry weather to prepare the ground and yet good rain to keep the crops growing and healthy. The only downside being the cold winds, which have meant the crops are slightly behind normal.

We have been successionally sowing a range of crops; calabrese, sweetcorn, lettuce, early beetroot, hispi cabbage, early cauliflower, true spinach, coriander and parsley. All these are sown in modules and transplanted when ready.  

Other crops; later beetroot, carrots, spinach, chard, peas and beans, swedes, rocket, mizuna, pak choi, tatsoi and streaky mustard are all direct sown. I invested in a 3-row tractor mounted precision seeder last year and it has made a big difference to the ease of direct sowing.

We planted out all our squash in late May and they are looking well except for the butternut squash, which really did not like some of the cold nights.

We are also planting other autumn winter crops like kales, cabbages and cauliflowers. We buy these in trays of modules from Wessex Plants nursery, near Bristol.

Mid-June and finally we are coming to the end of the hungry gap. The rain last Friday and warm sun have made a big difference. The new potatoes and hispi cabbage are ready now.  Beetroot, carrots, calabrese, cucumbers, aubergines, french beans, peas and the first courgettes will be ready for the last week of June. Cherry tomatoes and peppers will follow in July.

We have been harvesting overwintered onions for 4 weeks, which has been a successful way to grow them (as explained in the last newsletter) except there were too many seeds per each cell, 4 or 5 when it would be best to have only 3. The garlic is grown similarly in black plastic mulch, but planted with a single clove to each space. These have been really successful.

Work-wise we have been hard pressed this spring with 2 main people off with a bad back and family illness.  However, up until now we have managed to keep on top of the schedule, thanks to the amazing hard work of everyone here. The one thing that has suffered is my communication with you, our customers with newsletters and farm walks. Fortunately, Bridget has been holding the fort in the office with answering queries and keeping a good photo record of some of what is happening on the farm and passing this on through Facebook, Twitter and our website.

Farm Walk. To make amends I have organised a farm walk at Shillingford Organics on:

Saturday, 4th July 2015 with a prompt start at 11am

followed by a light lunch (a selection of some of the produce we sell through our Online Farm Shop); Emma’s bread, local cheeses, a selection of chutney from our neighbours (Devon Orchard Ltd) and Rod & Bens hummus, which they make here on the farm and some of our raw veggies and salad, of course!! Hope to see you here and if you would like to come and stay for lunch, please email or phone Bridget in the Admin Office to let her know how many will be in your group, this is to ensure we prepare enough food. Please bring suitable clothing and footwear with you in case adverse weather descends upon us (fingers crossed it will be fine). We look forward to seeing you here.

Do visit our Online Farm Shop – we have a superb range of products available to buy:

  • Vegetable Boxes
  • Vegetables
  • Dairy & Eggs
  • Herbs; our herb garden is looking amazing
  • Fruit (limited seasonal but we are looking to source more exotic fruit to meet customer demand)
  • Larder; cereals, biscuits, vegan/vegetarian products, condiments, snacks, canned products and much more
  • Emma’s Bread
  • Stevie B’s Bread
  • Cheeses; cheddars, goats cheese and parmesan
  • Jams, Pickles & Chutneys
  • Rice, Pasta and Pulses
  • Oils, Pesto & Sauces
  • Coffee & Tea
  • Drinks
  • Household Products
  • Flowers & Gift Ideas

We only deliver locally in the Exeter & Teign Valley and offer FREE DELIVERY to ALL customers who are on our delivery routes.  

Shopping for organic/ethical produce just got whole lot better!

by Martyn Bragg