Vital Veg, organic farm, phacelia and bees

Newsletter 20 July 2020

On the farm
We have welcomed the rain, and now we would like the sun and warmth back please! The rain has been great and really boosted out crops. Some of the rows of beetroot in the drier part of the field have been struggling a little. It is amazing how fast they freshen up with a good shower of rain. The rain has helped our summer cabbages heart up, and the beans swell in their pods. The weeds relish the rain too of course, and we are happy that we managed to get a good deal of pre-emptive weeding done before the deluge. This week will see us concentrating on getting the leek rows weeded. Leeks are poor competitors and need to be clear of weeds while they are getting established. They grow very upright and don’t have the big leafy tops like some of the other vegetables – so the weeds can get the better of them. We have been through with the tractor (see photos on Instagram – it’s a nerve-wracking job!). Now we need to go through by hand and take out the weeds that the tractor can’t get to.

We always plant strips of flowers between the patches of vegetables in our veg field. This year we have planted more than ever in a bid to really help insects. The first of our flower strips is looking lovely now – you can see pictures on Facebook and Instagram. In addition to these patches of annual flowers we also have clovers and wildflowers around each of our five veg field areas, and flowering trees and shrubs in all our hedges. We have been enriching a little wildflower meadow for 20 years, and this year we hope to try making “green hay” from this meadow and spread it in other places on the farm. The idea is that the seeds fall out of the hay and produce more wild flowers. We hope that we will be able to employ some special cows to help us push the seeds into the soil and clear space for them to grow. Hear how we get on in future newsletters!

Cucumber bonanza
Our mini cucumber plants are producing cucumbers at the speed of light at the moment – so there are lots going out in boxes this week. Cucumbers are surprisingly versatile. No need to stick to elegant sandwiches! You can use cucumbers in salads, pickle them, fry them, stuff them, roast them, make soup (served hot or cold), or turn them into a refreshing drink. Even just a simple slice in a glass of water is lovely.

Do you have a favourite cucumber recipe? If so we’d love to hear about it!

Back to the boxes
We are planning to start using our lovely reusable cardboard boxes again for our deliveries in the next few weeks. The big bags have been useful in doing our part to prevent any spread of COVID-19, but they are not our first choice as a container for your vegetables!