News from the farm – spring 2023

Starting all over again

I love this time of year when we transition from one growing season to the next. The slate is being wiped clean and we’re starting all over again.

Throughout the year I find myself listing all the things we’ll do differently next season and now is the time we can put those thoughts into action. There is of course no one right way of doing things. What works one year may fail the next. The weather is the biggest uncertainty, and whilst nature is our friend, it also presents a great many ever-changing challenges in terms of pest and diseases.  There is always something that wants to feast on our lovely veg!

Each year we begin again, learning from our mistakes. We’re forever tweaking our crop rotations and planting schedules, trying to optimise the system and get the most out of the land.  We can get two or three crops from some beds if we plan carefully.

There’s also a balance to be achieved when it comes to planting times. Plant too early and you have too much ready at the same time but plant too late and you can miss the boat entirely. We’ve been a bit late on sowing some of our root crop over the past couple of years, caused by our effort to create a less weedy seed bed to sow them into. This is risky as there is less time for crops to mature and little time to re-sow if something goes wrong. We’re going to try and bring sowing forward a bit this year to reduce the risk.

Pest and disease issues can also be mitigated with timing and rotation. We try to harvest turnips before the cabbage root fly take hold and try to avoid growing too much broccoli in the cabbage white caterpillar season.

This year we’ve changed our crop rotation to give more space between crops susceptible to violet root rot which has caused problems in our celeriac recently. We’re also going to be growing French marigolds in between our Brussels sprouts to try and deter the white fly which always seem to be a problem.

Each season there will be fine tuning and new ideas. It’s like a big puzzle with multiple solutions. It’s what keeps the whole thing interesting and whilst I know deep down that it’s unlikely to happen, I still can’t help striving for the perfect season, where we get it all right and everything goes our way!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *