Ann's Farm Journal
Keep up with all of our updates from the farm including what’s new in season!
Thank goodness we have tunnels to work in this weekend as the rain has been torrential. We are never happy…tooo hot, tooo wet, tooo windy. The positives are that we do not have to water outside and the warmth continues to spur the growth of the crops.
We are going thru another change in the tunnels. The new, fresh, crops of Aubergines, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, French Beans and Peppers are all thriving. The first Broad Beans sown are now needing to come out of the tunnels (hence the offer on Broad Beans this week). Not only is it the end of the plants life but we need the space for the next set of crops. We are planning our Autumn/Winter season of crops, now. We have to be a few seasons ahead of the game, so we are thinking Winter brassicas, orientals and pak choi, spinach and rocket.
Meanwhile, back in the Summer season…we will be hitting the usual problems of little critters. We can already see the odd gathering of aphids on the Aubergine leaves. Therefore when I see a ladybird I carefully carry it across to the aubergines in polytunnel two and leave it on an area which has aphids and let them do their thing. I did this on Thursday with a little ladybird and it has been munching away at some greenfly for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bob has actually bought some ladybird larvae from the tinternet. These should be arriving on Monday. We will spread the larvae around the tunnels and wait to see the ladybirds tackle any aphid infestation.
Another issue which can destroy brassicas and make carrots inedible is the root fly. To ensure that the tiny worm like creature does not establish itself, we buy in nematodes. These are then washed into the ground and, fingers crossed, they will munch on anything under the ground, including the root flies.
The Cabbage white butterfly, with lots of other butterflies, can be seen fluttering around our leafy brassicas. To reduce the chance of butterflies laying their eggs on any leaves, we have covered the crop with netting. This stops the butterflies from laying eggs on the leaves, which will turn into a very hungry caterpillar. To become a beautiful butterfly, the caterpillars munch away at the leaves and can destroy a Cabbage, Cauliflower or Calabrese in a matter of days. The vegetable, at the very least, looks unsightly and can even be suitable for the compost bin only after an attack of caterpillars. The slugs and snails tend to be less of a problem. We do keep our eyes peeled for any sign of these slimy problems. We generally remove them by hand when and if we see one. Birds are always an issue but they do like a slug or snail. You all know by now that we have the pesky pigeons taking newly planted plugs of seedlings. However, we also have our very friendly black birds, sparrows and robins. They are always visiting the tunnels for a chat and looksee. But, they do enjoy pecking the tomatoes. Very often, when harvesting the Tomatoes I will see a big juicy ripe one, ready for picking. I go for the fruit only to find the birds have eaten the bottom and middle of the Tomato!
Outside, the birds also enjoy nibbling Courgettes, Strawberries and other berries. Our four legged friends also enjoy our organic veggies, including the Beetroot, Turnips and Radish.
We have to accept that we share all our Fresh Local Organic Produce with all these critters. It can be really frustrating at times, especially when a huge red Strawberry has the tiniest of pecks taken from the berry or one of the bestest courgettes has been gnawed right in the middle! Oh soooo frustrating! We have very healthy neighbours enjoying an organic diet, expertly grown by some humans who are a soft touch!
The Crew are all very good, working but also taking well earned breaks during some of these summer weeks. There are still lots to do on the farm, mainly tending the Summer fruiting crops. They are a very time consuming crop, hopefully all worth the effort. We are also harvesting and storing our Garlic, Shallots, red and white Onions. We are gradually running out of space…help!!!
Well, time for me to crack on! Thank you for listening and your custom.