Vital Veg, organic farm, leeks

Newsletter 8th March 2021

On the farm
The new leeks are sown! Five varieties for 2021. We will start harvesting these in late August or September, starting with Chinook, and then go through Navajo, Tadorna, Atlanta and finally Bandit next April and May!

Next on our sowing list will be early beetroots, along with the red cabbages and lots of salads. We sow most of the beetroots directly into the field. However, the soil is far too cold at the moment, so we gain a few weeks by sowing into modules in our tunnels, and we will transplant the seedlings outside once the soil warms up sufficiently. This way we don’t have to wait quite so long for the first beetroots to be ready to harvest.

The temperature on the farm plunged down below minus 6 °C last Friday night, and the soil was frozen down to a couple of inches below the surface. Hopefully this was the last of the very hard frosts! We’d like the soil to begin warming now.

Feathered friends
There has been a tawny owl roosting in one of our owl boxes, so we are keeping our fingers crossed that we might have a new owl family on the farm this year! There has been a lot of tertwitting and terwooing, so we know that there are at least two owls. They will have paired up a few weeks ago, but we don’t know yet if they will nest on the farm. Birds of prey such as these owls help us protect our vegetable crops by patrolling for mice and voles. We put up a kestrel box up last year and are hoping that will be occupied too. We will keep you posted.

Carrot tops
You might find that the tops of your carrots are cracked. This is where they have been sticking out of the ground and have been frosted. The cracked bits can be somewhat dry and not great to eat. The lion’s share of the carrot has been safely in the ground and will be fine to eat. We have increased the weight of carrots the boxes and for any special orders to cover any bits that you need to cut off. As always, if you discover anything below standard just let us know.

This weeks’ potatoes
The potato in this weeks’ boxes is Bambino. This is a slightly waxy potato which will hold together well when boiled. Jumbo boxes also contain some of the lovely pink Setanta which is more floury.