Preparing soil for Organic beetroot, Vital Veg, Aberdeenshire

Newsletter 7th May 2018

On the Farm

What a difference a week makes!  The warmth after pleasant spring showers has made things really begin to grow outdoors.  We have been doing the first of the weeding for the potatoes, carrots and parsnips.  Weeding the sequence of outdoor crops is something that will keep us occupied outdoors now until August!  After that the crops have generally got the upper hand and we can safely leave any weeds between the rows to fulfill their useful role in protecting and enriching the soil.  Right now though, it is important that we step in to make sure the balance of power goes in favor of the crop.  Weeds are much better than crops when it comes to making a claim on ground!  Wonder why that is?!

We will be planting our cucumbers this week, protected from cool nights by our insulated tunnel, with fleece on hand for cold nights.  Indoors this week we are also planting more kohl rabis and lettuces, and continuing with our seed sowing programme.  Outdoors we are sowing more carrots and beetroots, making preparations for courgettes, and planting the first of the many brassicas.  All go!

Some of the veg boxes contain leafy endives this week.  These are related to the chicory heads that were in some boxes over the last few weeks.  Like chicory, endives also look like a lettuce, but are a little more bitter.  They do make a good salad.  If you find them a bit too bitter, or some of the outer leaves are getting tougher, you can wilt it as cook as spinach – adding it to a pasta dish for example, or a soup.

Hairy carrots and sprouty tatties
You might notice some little white hairs sprouting from your carrots.  These are little roots beginning to grow because the carrots know that it is spring and time to start growing again to send up a flower stalk and produce seeds.  The roots will come off when you wash to carrots, and won’t affect the flavor.  We will to come to the end of our own carrots next week.  Until our new crops are ready we will buy in organic carrots from growers in the south to cover the gap.  

The same is true of the potatoes.  Just rub out the sprouts if they look like they are trying to grow.  They are a reassuring sign that the potatoes have not been sprayed with sprout suppressant chemicals. The new potatoes are on their way, and we will be buying these in as soon as we can get hold of UK grown ones.  Our own will be ready from mid-August, all being well!

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!