Vital Veg, organic farm, winter lettuce

Newsletter 1st March 2021

On the farm
This is a time of change on the farm, as the days get longer and brighter. Many of the field crops that have seen us through the winter are now coming to an end, and we are busy sowing the new crops. To cover the gap we will soon be relying much more on our tunnel crops, and we will also buy in some vegetables to fill gaps and keep up the variety in your boxes until our new crops are ready. There will be broccoli and courgettes bought in via our organic wholesaler in some boxes this week, and bought-in butternut squash have already make a few appearances. We have sold the last of our own beetroots – they have been really popular. There are just a few of our own cabbages and swedes left, and a few weeks’ worth of our parsnips. Our curly kales should last another month, hopefully, as should our own carrots. The leeks might last until May. These later leek varieties are smaller ones which stand the frosts much better – but they take us a very long time to dig up and trim! How long everything will last, and how long the new crops take, all depends on the weather!

I often find myself conflicted with weather wishes! Right now I would like it to remain cool to preserve our root crops as long as possible, deterring them from sending up leaves and flowers. On the other hand I am keen for the soil to warm to speed up our ground preparation for the new-season crops. A “have your cake AND eat it” situation!

Our potato ground is finally ploughed, after a slightly longer than usual wait for the conditions to be right. We will now need to wait for the green manure to rot down before we can prepare the ground for planting. The green manure is a mix of grass and clover that we plant to enrich the soil as part of our crop rotation. We still hope to be planting our potatoes in April even with our late plough. Fingers crossed the ground warms sufficiently so that we can do this. Hum – there is one of my conflicting wishes!

Elsewhere on the farm we have found a few moments to plant some more Rowen trees to build up our stock of winter berries for the birds. We are hoping to plant many more in our field boundaries, and perhaps in some new hedgerows in the coming seasons.

This weeks’ potatoes
The potato in this weeks’ boxes is the lovey pinky-red skinned Setanta. This is another all-rounder in the kitchen, whether you fancy baking, boiling, roasting or chipping!