Vital Veg, organic farm, polytunnel

Newsletter 15 March 2021

On the farm
Sowing is well under way – hurrah! Even though it is still cold outside the tunnels are quite cosy, especially during the daytime. With the longer days, this gives a chance for indoor crops and seedlings to make some good progress. This week we will be sowing our red cabbages and more salads. We will also be planting lettuces alongside the rocket, mustard and purslane that we planted last week.

Our overwintered spring greens, lettuce, chard, parsley, oriental greens and true spinach are noticeably growing now, and it won’t be too long before we can offer these along with our mizuna and winter purslane.

As well as our vegetable plants we are also continuing our wildflower seed sowing. We sow a whole range of meadow and woodland wildflowers which we will plant out later in the season. Experience has taught us that most of these young flower seedlings fare best when planted as bigger plants in September - when the soil is warm and encourages root growth, and there is not some much competition from leaves of established plants in the meadow and wood. We also sow annual wildflowers in amongst our fertility building leys in the veg field, and in temporary grass and in our wild bird, so that our farm is gradually becoming more flowery!

Digger work
It is surprising how often we need a digger. Over the last 16 years we have used one a great deal to improve our field drains. I have much admiration for the farm workers who laid drains in the time before mechanized diggers. What hard work that must have been digging trenches and laying stone drains, and in slightly more recent times, clay drains! Today the digger is improving access into one of our fields, which has always been awkward with a trailer. We will also move some soil from here to one of the fields where the soil has become thinner. Over the years soil tends to move downhill, especially if it is ploughed. So, we are carting soil this week.

Loss of soil is a major issue in agriculture worldwide. Much gets blown away in the wind or lost to sea. Our windbreaks and trees on the farm really help to keep our soil on the farm – even if it does move downhill!

Carrot tops
You might find that the tops of your carrots are cracked. This is where they have been sticking out of the ground and have been frosted. The cracked bits can be somewhat dry and not great to eat. The lion’s share of the carrot has been safely in the ground and will be fine to eat. We have increased the weight of carrots the boxes and for any special orders to cover any bits that you need to cut off. As always, if you discover anything below standard just let us know.

This weeks’ potatoes
The potato in this weeks’ boxes is Colleen. This is an all-rounder in the kitchen and one of our favourites.