Organic courgettes, Vital Veg, Aberdeenshire

Newsletter 9th July 2018

On the Farm
Still dry for the field crops…  just an hour or so of light drizzle on Sunday night, enough to wet the leaves but not much more.  This certainly is a challenging year. 

We have lost 30% of our root crops (later sowings of carrots and beetroots) due to very delayed germination and slow growth.  We just have to keep our fingers crossed that the earlier sown roots, which showed such promising early growth, make it to full term.  We are probably looking at very reduced yields in these, as the plants are growing so slowly, and we are now significantly past the longest day of the year.

The brassicas (cabbages, kales, broccoli, cauliflower, swedes) and leeks are not looking too bad, but we are beginning to worry how long they can hold out without showing significant signs of stress.  We are expecting the broccoli and cauliflower to mature much earlier than we planned, and for the size to be affected.  When it does rain, many crops may split as they absorb water into their tight bodies.

Of course we could have installed irrigation – but it is a brave grower who invests in such expensive equipment and facilities for an event that has previously been as rare as this in Scotland (last water shortage on this scale 1976).

It is one of those things that you just have to accept as a grower – that you might do all the work, and pay for all the inputs (seed, machinery and labour costs etc.,) and you just don’t get paid.  A bit like working for months for an employer who fails to pay for your time and expenses.  But that is the way it goes.  And we are thankful that we don’t have livestock.  The farmers with cattle and sheep are facing a very serious feed shortage, with first cuts of silage down 30%, and second cuts non-existent, and hardly a blade of grass left in the pastures.  And then there is the water…

Hot boxes
This hot weather can be taxing for the veg in their boxes.  They leave our farm in peak condition, but might wilt if they are not protected while they are waiting for you to come home.  Now would be a good time to think about a cool box large enough to take your veg box, or at the least a wet towel left for us to drape over the box.  If you need to tell us of a change in the place that you would like us to leave the box (more shady) then please email us your new instructions.