Organic potatoes, Vital Veg, Aberdeenshire

Newsletter 9th October 2017

On the farm

At last it has stopped raining sufficiently for us to start harvesting potatoes again.  We are fortunate that we have a small enough acreage to be able to wait for better conditions and to protect our soils from the damage that occurs if tractors and other machinery are taken on to wet ground.  The giants of the potato world have many thousands of acres to harvest, so they must push on regardless of how wet the ground is. 

Time is getting short though, as we do need to get the potatoes out of the ground and into the shed, and we would also like to sow an over-winter green manure to protect the soil from winter rains and snow.  So, we are calling in the cavalry, and have an extra 4 pairs of hands arriving to help us lift the last of the crop.  All being well we should be finished by the end of the week.

Indoors, the cucumbers have finally come to an end for this season, and the space they occupied has been planted up with tatsoi, leaf beet and winter lettuces.  We have given the ground a good dose of homemade compost to replenish it as the cucumbers are hungry plants and take a lot from the soil.  The cucumber plants are now composting, ready to be returned to the soil next year.  This circular system, or principle of return, together with the diversity and rotation of crops (making sure that we don’t grow the same crop in the same place) – and of course the absence of manufactured fertilisers and pesticides/herbicides/fungicides, forms the basis of organic farming.