Organic broccoli, Vital Veg, Aberdeenshire

Newsletter 28th May 2018

On the Farm
Rain dances please!  The soil is beginning to get on the dry side of comfortable, and is inducing a bit of nail-biting here on the farm.  It is three and a half weeks since we last had a decent shower of rain, so it is time for more.  

The crops are doing OK, but a shower will encourage them to jump into full growth.  Sowing seeds into dry soil is a worry because we don’t know how long it will take them to germinate, and this makes our planned weeding harder to timetable.  Planting young plants into dry soil is more of a worry, as they may dry out and become stressed.  Fortunately the 15,000 leeks that we planted last week are looking strong, and the brassicas are really starting to take off.  We don’t have irrigation in the veg field, because it is so rarely needed, so for those most vulnerable crops – like the courgettes – it is a case of out with the watering cans.  Not a fun prospect when there are 200m of courgettes to do!

Fortunately we do have irrigation in our tunnels.  This is drip irrigation that comes on during the night when the water can soak into the soil rather than evaporate into the air.  The drip irrigation is very efficient and means that we actually use very little water for the crops. 

The nursery tunnel will almost be emptied this week, with just one more major planting to go in two weeks’ time.  Then we will use the nursery tunnel for more salad crops to support the production in our bigger tunnels.  We have had even more people wanting to buy our produce, so we need to be as efficient as we can with time and space in order to serve as many customers as we can with the land that we have.

On the topic of being efficient and doing the best that we can, we are planning to make a few changes to improve our service, so watch this space!  Next week we are interviewing some candidates on the STEP programme (for graduates and final year undergraduates) to help us with some of these changes.  We will also be welcoming our summer support team back to the farm to help with thinning and weeding our carrots, beetroots, parsnips and beans.  These measure just over 5km end-to-end, so this is no mean feat!

See some pictures and videos of the farm
I hope that you enjoy reading about the farm in these newsletters.  We like to give you an insight into what goes on behind the scenes in filling your boxes with veg every week.  If you want to see pictures we put new ones up on our facebook page regularly.  Have a peek if you have not already done so!