Riding up organic potatoes, Vital Veg, Aberdeenshire

Newsletter 18th June 2018

On the Farm
Phew!  We have planted all of our outdoor crops now.  Well, all except the beetroots that we’ve sown to replace the ones that have failed to establish because of the dry weather.  It is “just” a case of weeding the crops, thinning those that need thinned, and making sure that nothing eats them before you do!  The dry, windy, weather is perfect for weeding, so we are thankful for that.  There are few more disheartening tasks than weeding all day only to see the weeds growing again in the morning after a shower of rain.  

While we are pleased that weeding is going well in the sun and wind, we don’t want the dry weather to slow down our crops.  We’d also like some rain to help establish our fertility-building ley (grass and clover) and the clover that we will sow under the brassicas this week (this adds nitrogen for the next crop in our rotation). As always, us Growers seemingly want personalized weather!

New potatoes
Last years’ potato crop is now completely eaten and we are on to new potatoes bought in from organic growers in the south, where crops are ahead of ours.  Because these are scarce the price is high, as with the new-season carrots.  The amount in your boxes is reduced accordingly.  One other thing to be aware of with new potatoes is that they dry out much quicker than main-crop tatties.  This is because they are lifted before the skin has had time to set, and so they lose moisture much more easily.  The same tendency to lose water easily is true of early carrots, especially if they have been pre-washed, which many are.  We recommend that you eat them soonish after delivery, or at least keep them somewhere cool and covered.

Compost heap refurbishment
Our compost heaps are central to the maintenance of soil fertility in our tunnels where it is too expensive for us to rely on green manures as we do in the fields.  Our heaps are made in bays made of wood. But since we don’t use any toxic wood preservatives the walls of the bays tend to compost in entirety after very few years.  So this year we are experimenting with non-toxic recycled plastic boarding to rebuild some of the compost bays.  This seems like a good use for plastic already in existence.

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!