Vital Veg, organic farm, crop cover

Newsletter 12th October 2020

On the farm
Well, so far so good. The carrots are mostly intact after the deluge last week – we had feared they may split. Hopefully the danger is over, but, as with everything, time will tell. The newly sown over-winter green manure that we were fretting about last week seems to be growing away OK, and the crows have passed it over in favour of the remains of the oat crop. So, we may have got away with that one too, and can hopefully look forward to a nice strong green covering to protect our soils over winter. The rain certainly has freshened everything, and it is good to see moisture back in our soils.

The rain does make for tricky harvesting conditions though, so please be prepared for some muddy veg!

We are very happy to have at last taken the protective nets off our brassicas now that the butterflies are no longer on the wing. Hopefully the pigeons will look elsewhere for food so that we can keep the covers off. It makes harvesting so much more pleasant – especially when it is raining! Working with big, wet crop covers is definitely a least-favourite job!

Potatoes
This week’s potato is Maris Bard - for the last time because they are almost all sold. We will be on to a different variety next week. Maris Bard is a medium waxy potato which holds its shape making it good for boiling and chipping, and a delight in salads. It is, alas, rather susceptible to potato blight. We have graded out any blighty tubers as we harvested these, and also when packing your boxes. But they can slip past us! If that happens and you receive any sub-standard ones do let us know.

Elsewhere on the farm
The rain has given us confidence to plant the wildflowers that we grew from seed in the spring. We have been planting sneezewort, red campion, knapweed, wild carrot(!) and harebells. Lots more still to go in over the next week or so, in between veg jobs! The deer like to test how well we firm in the young wild flowers, and we often find some pulled up the next morning – but mostly they will survive!

We were excited to see a Jay for the first in our young woodland. These are quite flashy birds, and have a fierce call! Our young oaks, at 16, are not really old enough to produce acorns (a favourite food of Jays), so perhaps the visitors are just checking on their progress!