We were so pleased to win the award for 'Best Salad Bag' in the Soil Association's Boom Awards 2016. We were up against some stiff competition, making the win all that much more exciting.
What a lovely growing season it is at the moment and the recent warm weather has helped us get through the ‘Hungry Gap.’ After the cold start in April, most of the crops are looking fantastic and we are up to date on our planting schedule.
The tunnels have produced a great crop of Broad beans and now sugar snap peas. We have just started picking courgettes and the French beans, tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and cucumbers are looking great and already fruiting. The early lettuce came from the tunnels, but interestingly the outdoor lettuce covered with fleece caught up with the tunnel planted lettuce. Lettuce never like hot conditions.
From the fields we have been harvesting overwintered green onions and green garlic for 4 weeks now. The first calabrese and hispi cabbage will be ready to harvest next week, along with kales, Kohlrabi and turnips which were all planted in March/ April. The kales are already being harvested. New potatoes will follow the 3rd week of June.
We have been making regular plantings of lettuce, beetroot and fennel and sowings of french beans, sugar snap peas, spinach and chards, as well as coriander. We planted all our main season onions, red cabbage and Brussel sprouts by early May, as well as a lot of our kales. We planted out all our squash at the end of May and just last week planted all our leeks. We sowed our Runner beans too early as the ground was too cold and only a few came up, so we had to resow.
This year we are making a compost extract by mixing some really mature compost and water. We then dose all the plants before planting them. The aim is so that the beneficial organisms’ in the mature compost are right next to the plant roots from the start and will reproduce as the plants grow.
It seems to be working as the crops have an extra glow to them! Mind you another good dose of rain will soon be needed
Of course there has to be one crop which is not doing so well and that is the outdoor broad beans. Most of the early sowings never survived the wet early winter. Now the sowings made in February are covered in aphids. Normally a few beans are attacked by aphids and the predators are attracted in and keep them to a minimal level, but this year the aphids have got away. They are growing in amongst parsnip flowers, which attract in lots of parasitic wasps and ladybirds, which are now eating their way through the aphid delight and should soon keep them under control.
The other bain of our lives are pigeons which live in the trees and hedges around the fields. They are very canny, because as soon as we leave the field they just hop into a crop of brassicas or peas and start munching away. We are having to cover these crops with a giant mesh sheet.
Rain needed now please!
REALLY IMPORTANT INFORMATION
Returning Green / Blue Crates
We are going to put a note in everyone’s box for the next 2 weeks just to jog peoples' mind to return the empty crates. I know that most people are really good and this may be a bit annoying, but it is just simpler to put a note in to serve as a reminder. Unfortunately the cost of replacing new crates is financially draining.
Sugar Snap Peas
Please make sure you eat them whole!! Just peel back the stalk and pull off the string along one edge.
Early carrots have been difficult this year. We have harvested all the first sowings, sown last October in one of the polytunnels and the February sown ones are patchy and will be ready in a week or two. Thus again there will be a gap. The early sown carrots outdoors we have fully weeded and covered up to prevent carrot root fly.