Monday, 24 October 2011

October, Squash Harvest and More

'Crown Prince' squash, cut and windrowed, ready to pick up.
We've harvested all our pumpkins and squash now, not such a big job this year as we lost a lot of plants after transplanting, in the cool June weather. But the amazingly sunny September and October ripened those that survived.
'Hokkaido', probably the tastiest squash we grow, but doesn't store long, so taste it while you can.

Pumpkins in the field, cut and ready to pick up

Crown Prince, a very tasty squash that can store until April/May

Pumpkins in store, still ripening (they all start off green and ripen to orange just in time for Halloween, hopefully)

'Habanero' chillies

'Green-in-Snow' - a winter hardy mustard salad leaf, growing inside our Victorian walled garden

Autumn planted garlic, just emerging.
 It's a very difficult crop to weed, which is why we use this biodegradable plastic mulch.

So pretty, I had to take a picture! Rainbow chard harvested and bunched Monday, to be delivered into London shops early Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Spartan Apples Harvest October 2011

We have a small area od Spartan apple orchard, planted when the field was part of Wye Collgee, and very neglected over the years. Left un-pruned for a long time and un-weeded, many of the trees are covered in 'old man's beard' and crowded by Alder. But we have done some pruning and tidying since renting this field, and this year we have been rewarded with a bumper crop. It has generally been a good year for apples, and these are no exception. They are ready earlier than usual too, so on Tuesday we harvested the lot (we leart our lesson after last year, when we harvested a couple of boxes each week for the markets for a few weeks, and then found empty trees - some-one had been more than scrumping!

Here's a couple of pics to whet your appetite, they will be sale at Stoke Newington and Whitstable Farmers Markets this Saturday, and then every week until they're gone.

Also available to order as extras with our box scheme.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

September, Spud Harvest Time

September is Spud harvest time, so far we have been harvesting them as needed, but all the maincrop potatoes should be harvested over the next few weeks now ready for winter storage. A sunny, not too wet September will keep us happy, the squash will ripen, the tomatoes and peppers in the polytunnels will keep cropping and we can harvest potatoes anytime we're not harvesting and packing orders.  
Potato harvester in action at Ripple, with one tractor pulling the machine, one driving alongside filling wooden bin as the spuds come off the belt, and 4 workers on top, sorting the clods and stones from the spuds.

Plenty of wooden bins still
to be filled, the 'Long Plantation' woods in the background.

'Amorosa' - reds and 'Valor' - whites

The harvester goes back to the workshop for minor repairs, Wye Crown claerly seen here looking up from 'Orchard Field' spinach, late sown leeks and kales under cover bottom right.

Stripy spinach - the central darker green rows are true spinach, and the outer, lighter green are perpetual spinach

Early leeks, irrigated back in the drought of April/May, and now ready to harvest,
looking pretty as a picture amongst the poppies

This year's squash crop is not looking so good after a relatively cool summer, many plants died in the cool conditions after planting, and those that are there still need more sun to ripen up.

Crown Prince squash, not yet ripe...

and butternut..

Sunday, 21 August 2011

August 2011 in Pictures

August is a quiet month in terms of harvesting and packing, as many of our customers go on holiday, but then so do many of our staff, so it doesn't feel that quiet. A bit of a lull though before the main harvest of onions and potatoes gets going in September.

Onions, drying in the field, looks like a good crop this year.

The squash still have a lot of work to do after being planted so late, let's hope for a sunny September!

A patchwork of kales, Russian Red, Cavelo Nero, Red and Green Curly and Hungry Gap

Straw bought from a local farmer, in readiness to protect the carrots and beetroot over winter.
 Kings Wood in the background.

The last of the leeks in the Nursery Bed that are still to be transplanted.
The module grown ones are almost ready to harvest.

Looking in to the Victorian Walled Garden. Sadly, some of the old wooden glasshouses are beyond repair.

Newly sown chard inside the walled garden.

We have sold a few organic figs at Stoke Newington market during August, this is where they came from, one of the remaining fig trees growing outside the walled garden.

A trial planting of Thai Basil for markets.

Phacelia strip next to our early leeks, food for bees.

A pear tree left over from the days when these fields were full of fruit. The pears are only good for cooking and do make a tasty jam, combined with summer and autumn berries. If you look hard you can see Wye Church in the background.

The 'Lazy Bed Weeder' - although after an afternoon on this you don't feel as if you've had a lazy afternoon at all! We all get to take turns driving the tractor.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Whats Happening July 2011

First it was too dry, then too wet (no pleasing us vegetable growers!) but then conditions were just right, so the last couple of weeks have seen us transplanting in every spare moment, (well, when we're not harvesting, packing or weeding that is) and we're almost caught up now.
These leeks were transplanted (and then irrigated) during the 'drought' and are now doing well

We finally got good enough ground conditions to plant our squash (not too dry, not too wet),
what they need now is lots of sun

Less watering to do as the number of plants still in plug trays lessens

The 'Hungarian Hot Wax' Chillies get going

And the tomatoes start to redden.

Rainbow and Green Chard plants just transplanted, we should be able to harvest chard from these plants through to next Spring, as long as thwey survive the winter (once they get a bit bigger that is!)

Our frindly 'Hawk Kite' bird scarer keeping the pigeons off our kales.

Lovely, almost weed-free rows of Cos lettuce

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

What we should be doing - June 2011

It's almost the end of June, and we still have hundreds of squash plants ready to be transplanted, but dare we say it, it's been a bit wet and cool over the last couple of weeks!!
But here we are in action, transplanting courgettes and sweetcorn a few weeks ago before the rain came, both these crops like a bit of sun, and the courgettes particularly dislike cold nights and windy days so aren't doing too well at the moment.
Courgette plants in plug trays

David Brown tractor loaded up with plants
Martin driving and checking the transplanting is going OK

Jane enjoying her work!

Jane and Sam on the transplanter feeding the sweetcorn plants in.
 For crops that we grow 3 rows to a bed, there will be a third person on the transplanter

Lovely, neat rows of transplaneted sweetcorn and courgettes

Sunday, 12 June 2011

What's happening in June

We finally got the rain we so were so desperate for, about 25mm on Sunday 5 and Monday 6 June and have had more since then, and everything is growing well and no need for irrigation for now, happy again!  
Ridging up potatoes before the rain (with a little help)

Picking up the first of the new potatoes by hand

Seeding into module trays, the majority is done now, but crops such as lettuce will be seeded every 2 weeks until August.
Sweetcorn and courgettes transplanted into nice moist ground, but not enjoying the wind and cool nights since.
Our quiet bird-scarer, a hawk kite, acts as a potential predator keeping smaller birds away from the crops
Basil growing well in a polytunnel, the scent from so many plants
is amazing
Nasturtiums just starting to flower to brighten up the salad bags

Squash plants ready to be transplanted.