Ann's Farm Journal
Keep up with all of our updates from the farm including what’s new in season!
Bob and I hope you are well and thank you for your support and the returned boxes.
Here on the farm we have been very busy, as usual. The summer cabbages are now all planted out in the Orchard Field bed, along with more kohlrabi. Our new Crew member spent one of her three days completing this task…thank you Esther.
When we say ‘planted out’ it seems an task easy to do, but here on the farm we have a process we follow…firstly we check for any weeds and ensure the bed to be planted is clean and level. Depending on the crop to plant out lines are placed along the bed to indicate where the seedling will be planted along. Along each line holes are placed where each plant will be placed. Each plug is then buried into each hole. Once all the bed has been filled we then set-up support tubes along the bed. The support tubes are used to allow the netting, which is placed along the bed to keep well away from each plant. The netting is used to prevent birds (those pesky pigeons) from eating the seedlings. Plus to prevent butterflies from laying eggs on each leaf later in the season (the eggs turn into caterpillars who eat the leaves of the plant). This we do for planting out of all seedlings.
The lovely Lucy has spent a lot of her time in the greenhouses, potting on…the celery and celeriac for instance. It is still too cold for them to be planted outside, so we will continue caring for them indoors, in the greenhouses. We will wait till the weather warms before these go out into the ground. The tomatoes, peppers and aubergines have also all been potted on and are growing really well, they are over a foot tall! It will not be long until these are all in the polytunnels growing till they reach the top of the tunnel.
The tunnels do provide a much warmer climate at this time of the year, especially when the sun shines. This week has actually seen the sun shining, with some days having beautiful blue skies. The result being really hot polytunnels so, we have raised the sides of the polytunnels to keep them cool (would you believe!). Some of our leaves still require a cool climate, the mustards, rocket and spinach for instance. When it does become really hot these crops tend to bolt and ‘go to seed’ quickly. These plants still have a few weeks of life in them, we are all still enjoying them, so, we are still caring for them inside the tunnels.
The weather has not always been sunny and bright…rain has been chucking it down since Friday night. Lots of gushing water down our local lanes and the fields, which had dried out from the winter weather, are now soggy again! We "weather watch" on a daily basis, we are probably fanatical about weather watching. Monday night is set to be a freezing night with temperatures of zero and possibly minus two. This is not good for us.
As I have explained, we are able to care for our crops in the greenhouses and polytunnels by keeping warmer or cooler temperatures regulated manually. The crops in the fields are another matter altogether. The options for this can be to not put crops out till guaranteed warmer weather or cover with fleece when the temperatures drop. When it comes to our Orchard and Fruiting Trees, we just cross our fingers!
The trees we have in the Orchard Field are a mixture of plums, apples, pears and cherries. Each fruit has a number of varieties and all the trees blossom at different times. The first to blossom is all the pear varieties closely followed by a number of the plum varieties. As you can see from this week’s picture, the blossom is blooming. Our fingers are crossed. Blossom can be killed by freezing weather and frost. If we have no successful blossom there is less chance of successful fruiting. We keep our fingers crossed but will have to wait till later in the year to count the number of pears and plums which we can harvest. (Remember - a few weeks ago I talked about how gardeners and gardening require patience. Here is a prime example of being patient).
The crops we have growing inside and outside are all coming along very nicely…garlic, red onions, yellow onions, spring onions, shallots, cauliflowers, greens, purple sprouting broccoli, cabbages, calabrese, spinach, kohlrabi, peas, sugar snap peas, jerusalem artichokes, parsnips, kales are all outside. Inside we have, spinach, rocket, cauliflowers, mustards, onions, chard, mesclun, lettuce, chicories, radish, turnips, herbs and broad beans. Everything looks really good with lots more in the greenhouses to go out. My favourite - the broad beans, my goodness they look healthy, are growing tall and full of flowers and the perfume is divine. As they say ‘watch this space’.
Till next week, take care,