Newsletter 16 November 2020
On the farm
It is still very warm for the time of year, and we have yet to have a frost here are Vital Veg. We may have one later this week – we will see. Frosts are a mixed blessing for us. On the one hand they signal the end of summer and early autumn crops, and they can be frustrating in that they may blacken the last of the broccoli, or spoil some cauliflowers that we have been waiting to mature. Most of our winter vegetables are extremely hardly and can withstand a lot of frost, but if the frosts are prolonged or severe then the logistics of our harvesting schedule become interesting! On the other hand frost is an important element in our pest control, helping to reduce the numbers of overwintering greenfly for instance. The frosts also act as a marker in time for some plants. Apples for example need a period of cold to ensure good flowers the following year. Some of our wildflowers need to experience a certain amount of cold days before they will germinate. Probably a way in which plants can “be sure” that winter is over and that the chance of young seedlings being killed by frosts becomes low. This is a trait that has been bred out of crop plants, and they depend on us to make the right choices for germination.
Farming with nature
"Agriculture changes the landscape more than anything else we do. It alters the composition of species. We don't realize it when we sit down to eat, but that is our most profound engagement with the rest of nature." Michael Pollan
This is a profound quote from the very thoughtful Michael Pollan. If you are not familiar with this author then consider having a dip into his work on food in when you are looking for something to read.
All farming changes the environment. We have learnt over the years that what we do has both intended (sometimes) and unintended (often!) consequences for the plants and animals on our farm, as well as for our crops. Find out more about how we farm with nature and listen to Wendy talking about Vital Veg in a recent interview:
This week’s potatoes are Bambino. Lovely salad potatoes with a smooth light waxy texture. They will hold together well when boiled.