Vital Veg, organic farm, nature

Newsletter 1st June 2021

On the farm
What a difference a week makes! At last we have glorious sunshine and proper signs of summer. There is a lot of pent up growth in the plants – so the veg field is suddenly bursting into life. Hurrah! It is all systems go now to get young veg plants out of our nursery and into the ground. Our team of Summer Weeders will be starting in the next few days to ensure that our direct-sown crops (parsnips, beetroots, carrots and beans) are not overtaken by the weeds.

The big downpours of last week have left a bit of damage in our leys, with some surface erosion and some seeds washed away. We will have a rather gappy wild bird seed crop as a result. Soil is very vulnerable when it is left bare, so the period between sowing and a crop covering the ground is when problems happen. This is why we always try to keep our soils covered with some plants – even weeds – over the winter when it is most likely to be wet.

The warmth has brought out a flush of insects. Much to the delight of the wild birds who are snapping them up to feed their chicks. Insects are really important for the birds, and it is great to see them doing well on our farm. The swallows are particularly impressive, swooping across our yard. There were a total of nine swallow chicks last year. They have had a late start this year, so we will have to see how they get on.

Bats are another group of insect lovers. We have lots of them on the farm, and they have been much in evidence on these milder evenings. We are not sure where they roost, but they particularly like to fly around the garden, the veg field and in the woodland glades.

The judges for Scotland’s Finest Woodlands Awards are coming to look at our woodland this Thursday! We are in the farm woodland category, so the competition is all about how woods make farms stronger. Our wood provides physical shelter for our crops, and provides a home for creatures that play important parts in our farm ecosystem – not to mention all that it does to provide fresh air, and help with reducing erosion when we have these very heavy rain events. It helps support us too: it is a great place to wander and de-stress at the end of a long day with the veg.

Reminder to eat leafy veg early
Our veg boxes are getting more leafy and less rooty for the coming weeks. This is because we are waiting for the new crops to mature in the field and our tunnel crops are mostly leafy salads. We pick these very early in the morning while they are cool, but it is a good idea to use them soon after your box is delivered to enjoy them at their best.

It really helps us keep our own prices level if you can return our boxes regularly and in good condition – please wipe them clean and leave them out for us to collect when your next delivery is due. THANK YOU