Vital Veg, organic farm green manure

Newsletter 18th July 2022

On the farm
Hot, hot, hot! Well I have to say I am glad that our little farm is not any further south. It is hot enough to stop us working in the fields during the middle part of the day. On Tuesday, which is likely to be the hottest day, we have suggested that our Weeders take the day off to avoid overheating and sunstroke. Thankfully it is due to be cooler towards the end of the week, and there are no repeat heatwaves imminent.

The heat makes harvesting difficult, especially from the tunnels. It means getting up in the middle of the night and harvesting at the coolest time of the day. When it is cooler we can harvest some crops just once in the week. When it is hot we need to harvest the leafy ones immediately before they are delivered, so that means several harvests a week, which adds to the workload. Even harvesting so close to delivery then I am a little worried about how they will fare this week. The heat in the tunnels has made some of the lettuces bolt (start to elongate in preparation for flowering), so if yours are a bit of a strange shape this is why.

The field veg are loving the sunshine, but could do with a good soak of rain. We will have to see what the forecast brings. The early-planted veg have got their roots well down into the soil and can tap into the water that is stored there. Our carbon-rich soil holds on to water well, which is why we try to add as much organic matter as we can over our rotation. This includes two seasons of green manure, if possible. Sometimes we have to break this if we need to control difficult weeds like couch grass. We do this by cultivation (we don’t use any chemical weed killers). While cultivating is good for reducing the weed burden, it also reduces the organic matter in the soil. So, as with all things it is a trade off between weed control and soil enrichment.

Dry goods
I must apologise for the blip in the availability of dried and tinned goods. Anne was in charge of this side of the business, and since she was so unwell, and then sadly died at the end of last month, I have not yet managed to catch up. I will get on top of the stock take and ordering shortly.

It really helps us keep our own prices stable 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