Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Hungry No More - May 2012

It's the end of May, and we're getting towards the end of the 'Hungry Gap'.

Spring onions, spring garlic, annual spinach, new season's salad leaves and lettuces are all ready now, new potatoes this week, new season's chard and kales and spring cabbage won't be long......
Our first early potatoes

spring onions in the field

new season's annual spinach looking pretty amongst the red dead nettle
(the annual nettles are not so pretty though when we're harvesting the spinach!)

new season's rainbow chard, nearly ready for harvesting

red lettuce in a polytunnel

a few early carrots in a polytunnel

and an outdoor sowing of carrots (our main weeding project at the moment)

beds of runner and french beans inside the walled garden

newly planted rows of courgettes and sweetcorn

trays of leeks and brassicas hardening off before planting

looking down at our rows of main-crop potatoes
 (shame I didn't get my camera out fast enough to photo the hare that was running down between the ridges)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Green Garlic

A.K.A spring garlic or wet garlic, the young green garlic looks like a small leek in disguise,
eat it all, as you would a spring onion.
The taste is milder than dry garlic, and it sweetens as it cooks, delicious!

As the season progresses, the bottom 'bulbs' out to give a more recognisable shape.
 Even at this stage, you can eat it all, as the cloves have only just began to seperate.

Some of our garlic back in February.

And more, taken in May last year

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The drought, the rain and growing vegetables

This time last year we were struggling with an 'un-official drought' , hardly any rain from the middle of March until June.

This year, we have an official drought, and we're struggling with the amount of rain we've had through April and so far in May. The drought is a long term problem though, affecting all of us, with resorvoir levels in the South East below average and groundwater sources at moderate or severely low levels.

Hopefully, the very wet conditions prove to be a short term problem for us growers, we are forecast 3 consecutive (mostly) dry days from tomorrow at least!
After getting ahead on our planting when we had a couple of dry and sunny weeks at the end of March, we are behind now, we have lots of transplants ready to go out in the field, its almost impossile to do any weed control, and the slug and snail populations are getting fat on carrot seedlings!
Bring on the sun.

And whilst I'm on the subject of water, we now have a 'treebog' compost loo at Ripple Farm, no water needed to flush (and no emptying needed, the willows planted round the site feed on the 'compost').