Vital Veg, organic farm, potatoes

Newsletter 19th April 2021

On the farm
Hurrah! The potatoes are all safely planted at last. There are 10 varieties, so it is quite time consuming changing the seed in the planting machine! It would certainly be easier to just grow one variety. However, having a diversity means not only is there more scope in the kitchen, but there is also greater resilience in our field. Different varieties perform differently depending on the weather – so we are hedging our bets!

The first of the parsnips, beetroots and carrots are sown, with more going in over the next few days. Our ploughing is now up to date, thanks to our wonderful neighbor who does this for us. We will soon be preparing the ground for planting the first of our brassicas (red cabbages, summer savoys and sweethearts) in the next few weeks, followed by more brassicas and leeks next month.

Those of you who order a weekly cucumber or two year round will have noticed they have been absent for rather a long time. We supply ones grown on our farm from June to October, and buy in to cover the rest of the year. We have struggled to buy any for months, due to a combination of BREXIT, COVID and really bad weather in Spain. At last the pressures are easing and we now have bought-in cucumbers again. Our own will be available in a couple of months. We are 10 days behind with growing our cucumbers on account of the weather. We are glad that we have delayed sowing having now heard many accounts frosted cucumber seedlings from other growers.

Carrot tops and bottoms
Just this week and next week left for our home grown carrots alas… but here is the note again for the benefit of new customers: Since the spate of -14 °C nights we had a few weeks ago I have been putting a note here to explain why some of the carrot tops might be cracked (where they were sticking out of the ground and caught by the frost). I now have to add another late-season note here. Some patches of our carrots have been invaded by carrot root fly. We do our best to stop these beasties using nets over the crop, but they can sneak in. We don’t see the damage until late in the season, and because we don’t wash our carrots it is hard for us to see the root fly larvae. If you encounter tunnels in your carrots, and little white grubs please don’t be alarmed – they are harmless root fly. Best just cut out any pre-loved parts of the carrots. We have increased the weight of carrots the boxes and for any special orders to cover any bits that you need to cut off for either reason. As always, if you discover anything below standard just let us know.

This weeks’ potatoes
It’s rather a pot luck week for potatoes because we have a just a very few left of several different varieties! So, while I am writing this newsletter I can’t say for sure what will be in the different size boxes. They are all versatile in the kitchen, but if you receive purple skinned Arran Victory this one does fall apart quickly on boiling – so one to bake or roast, or thicken a soup!