Vital Veg, organic farm

Newsletter 13th September 2021

On the farm
We are well and truly in brassica season! Most boxes have at least one of the three brassica flower-heads this week – broccoli, cauliflower and Romanesco. Some of you will get two or even three of these this week! Enjoy them while they last as the season for these is short in NE Scotland. All these are susceptible to frost damage, so to be safe we plan our harvests to finish before the first hard frosts are likely to arrive. Every now and again we have a go at overwintered cauliflowers. These don’t start for form heads until the spring. But we have found them rather hit and miss here. The British stronghold for overwintered caulis is Cornwall – for good reason!

We are gearing up for our main tattie harvest. We might manage this week if we can conjure up enough pickers! With luck we will have time to get an over-winter green manure sown after the tatties are up. This way we can protect the soil and add a little natural nitrogen in the spring (via nitrogen fixation by winter vetch). If conditions are not right to sow the green manure we will let the weeds that are already in the crop grow and cover the ground.

We are busy in the tunnels too! We have lots of seedlings of autumn, winter and spring salads ready to plant, and we will be pushing on with these this week. Cool-weather-loving crops such as rocket and true-spinach, winter purslane, and new chard to take over from our current crop in the spring are all ready for planting now!

A win for our woodland
I often write about our farm woodland. This is because I love it very much, but also because it provides so many benefits for our farm. It is a winner in my eyes, come what may. The judges of Scotland’s Finest Woodlands agree, and last Friday announced that we have won the Farm Woodland category in their annual awards!!! It was a fierce competition apparently, and what tipped the balance was the part that the woods so clearly play in supporting our organic veg! There is a write-up and list of winners and commended woods here:
https://www.thescottishfarmer.co.uk/news/19569337.scotlands-finest-farm-...
I have been out planting more bluebells in the woods – and the badgers follow me round digging them up! Apparently they are a very tasty snack. Coating the bulbs in paprika before planting deters the badgers, but also dehydrates the bulbs, which is not good. If you have any top tips for deterring bulb snaffling I would be very happy to learn them!

RETURNING YOUR EMPTY BOXES
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