Vital Veg, organic farm, orange legged wasp on parsley

Newsletter 30 September 2019

On the Farm

A lovely orange legged wasp on our parsley - lives in our hedges and helps control caterpillars!

Autumn is truly on the way. The wonderful geese are increasingly making their presence known in the skies, with their constant chatter as they pass overhead twice a day exchanging all the news of gooseland. The night time temperatures are plummeting, with 2 degrees C in the forecast for this week, and the hints of autumn colour are increasing. There is a notable change of vibe in the veg field as the overwintering vegetables settle in, and the annual crops and annual weeds die back.
Each year seems to go past faster than the last, and with it ever more challenges and lessons. This year our greatest challenge has been couch grass – a tough perennial weed that builds up over the course of our rotation. Currently the only way we can reduce this weed is to keep the soil bare and to cultivate frequently. This exhausts the couch grass, and though we never manage to remove the couch entirely it helps. But there is a price, of course, since such frequent cultivation is bad for the soil, oxidizing our valuable humus and disrupting soil fauna.

Recipe: Kale with lentils & preserved lemon

Serves 2-4

Puy lentils 200g
onion, finely chopped
thyme 2 sprigs, if available
kale 200g
olive oil
preserved lemon ½, finely chopped
fresh lemon 1, juiced
goat’s curd or Greek yoghurt 200g

Put the puy lentils in a saucepan with the shallots and thyme, and cover with twice their depth in water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes. Check that the lentils don’t dry out as they cook. Drain once cooked.

Trim the kale and cut off any thick stalks. Finely shred the leaves. Heat a little olive oil in a pan and stir in the kale. Add a little water to the pan, cover and steam gently for 5 minutes or until the kale is tender. Tip the lentils and kale into a bowl and add plenty of seasoning, the preserved lemon and juice and a little more olive oil. Fold everything together and leave it to sit for 10 minutes. Serve with the goat’s curd or yoghurt.