Vital Veg, organic farm

Newsletter 4th October 2021

On the farm
For the moment at least we are getting that wonderful caught-up feeling, when the list of jobs ahead stops growing quite so fast, so we are smiling! We are almost through our annual sowing programme – just a few more winter greens for the ploytunnel to do. Our green manures are sown outside, and, hurrah, the protective nets have come off our brassicas. These nets stop cabbage root fly and butterflies laying eggs that become chomping grubs and caterpillars competing for your dinners. But these nets are also a lot of work to move around when weeding (they are 100 meters long and 14 meters wide, and we have seven of them). They can soak you to the skin in seconds if you try working under them after rain or dew, and if you venture under them without a hat that buckles firmly under the chin then you risk a really unique designer hair-do that will last for weeks (crop cover frizz!)!

We did get caught out by the rain last week alas, and while our 2.5 acres of over-winter green manures are sown, they are not rolled. So, to roll or not to roll, that is our current quandary. The seeds have germinated already because the soil is still fine and warm. But our seedbed is soft, and if we don’t roll (firm) the seeds in we risk the young plants lifting and desiccating in the frosts that will surely come. They are tough and should not take too much damage if we don’t wait too long to roll. But the more worrying issue is that we risk smearing the soil which is now wetter than we would like. This might cause ponding in the rain that will surely come, and lack of airflow to the roots… So, to roll or not…. Of course in an ideal world we would have done it already, but the rain came just at the wrong time…

Jumbo cauliflowers
So, if you had one of our jumbo cauliflowers last week what delectable dishes did you come up with?! Some of last weeks were a little oversized to say the least, but hopefully you found good use for them. We will have more in the coming weeks – not quite so big! We have Romanesco in many boxes this week. We will have some next week and perhaps the week after, but it is soon over alas. On the plus side, our purple sprouting broccoli is now making an appearance. We have an early variety which is in some boxes this week, and a later variety which should, hopefully, see us into the new year.

Elsewhere on the farm
We are really excited that the Shetland cattle arrived – five cows and their calves! These will graze our woodland, lifting the canopy a little and reducing the amount of grass. The wood will become lighter and have more spaces for a wider diversity of plants and creatures. The cows are working to a plan designed for us by The Habitat People, who are a local business specializing in habitat improvement. The cows are grazing specific compartments of the wood and will be moved into fresh grazing every few days. They look very content among the trees!

It really helps us keep our own prices level 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