Newsletter 9th May

On the farm
We are getting there! After a late plough this year we now have our main sowings of carrots, beetroots and parsnips in the ground. We just need a good splash of rain now to get them going.

In addition to crops sown directly into the soil outside, and to gain a few weeks growth while the soil outdoors is cold we always start our first crop of beetroots in modules in our nursery tunnel. These have been hardening off outside for the last two weeks and we will be planting these this week, along with broad beans. We will also be making ready to plant out our first brassicas – summer cabbages, cauliflowers, broccoli and red cabbage. Our 15,000 leeks will be planted in the next one to two weeks, depending on how much growth they make. Today (Monday) is rather cold and overcast, but the forecast is for warmer weather to come, which will boost these along nicely. I will be glad to get them in the ground – there is a lot of work involved in looking after baby veg in our nursery tunnel!

Indoors the true spinach is coming to an end. The warmer weather causes it to bolt (flower) so we may have just one, or possibly two weeks left. We will be planting the cucumbers in the space left by the spinach. The first of our lettuces should be ready for harvest next week,

and we are gradually seeing the transition from winter to summer veg.

Around the farm
We have been planting the last of our wildflower seedlings before the soil gets too dry. Many hundreds of primroses have gone in this year – one of the most beautiful wildflowers, and one of the rare ones that the deer leave alone! Much as we love watching the elegant deer, they do quite a lot of damage – selectively eating flowers means that the wildflowers never get a chance to multiply! We just keep planting regardless, and at some point there will be more flowers than the deer can eat (we hope)!

This weeks’ potatoes
We have small amounts of most of our varieties left, so there will be a range of potatoes heading out in the boxes this week. If you have been keeping track of them each week you might be able to recognize which variety is in your box!