Vital Veg, organic farm, leeks

Newsletter 5 August 2019

On the farm
Another mixed bag of weather. The most significant of which has been the constantly very high humidity, with much mist overnight and in the mornings. This has led to the perfect conditions for blight forming on the leaves of our potato. We now have to take all the leaves off to safeguard the potato tubers. We don’t spray any chemicals against the blight, so taking leaves off the crop is our best defence. It does mean, however, that our crop will be smaller, and the individual potato tubers will also be small. But that’s just how it goes. Last year we had no blight at all because it was so very dry. This year has been quite the opposite. There are never two years the same!

Elsewhere on the farm the courgettes are coming into their own and are cropping really well. We sell up to a ton of courgettes each year to Huntly Herbs who make award-winning chutneys using our courgettes as a base. We also sell beetroots to Huntly Herbs as a component in their lovely beetroot and apple chutney. You can find Huntly Herbs produce in our online shop if you would like to give them a try.

Wildlife on the farm
We cut our wildflower meadow last Friday. It is always a wrench to cut the meadow, but we need to do this to maintain the balance in favour of the flowers. We have cut it early this year because there are so many new young plants in their which need sunlight! We’ll be taking the hay off this week, and planting yet more wildflower plugs into the sward. There are still plenty of flowers in our unharvested crop (for wild bird seed), in our hedgerows and woodland edges, and in the vegetable field we have two 100m x 2m strips of the wonderful blue/purple phacelia which is beloved by bees and butterflies. The first of these strips is just flowering now, with the second on the way to provide late nectar.

Greenfly
The weather has suited greenfly, alas. This means the lettuces do all have some greenfly. They will wash off easily, but we recommend eating your lettuce soon after delivery because the greenfly can keep on multiplying even after the lettuce is harvested, and even if you keep it in the fridge. We don’t use any chemicals to deter greenfly, and we rely on natural predators (biological control). Sometimes it takes a while for these predators to keep up to the supply!