Ian our grower has an ambition to harvest 1000 cucumbers for crop shares this season. So far there have been 120 over three weeks. This includes just 4 off the 6 heritage variety that are being trialled – not a good use of growing space so far.
But some of the regular variety (Cassandra – whoever she is) are producing BUT they have stopped putting out new growth for further production. Ian has never seen this before in his growing career. Flummoxed is the word we are looking for probably? Answers on a postcard if anyone has any clues.
Go Local Food is really into summer crop mode. Cucumbers and tomatoes are filling up the spaces as the beds are cleared in the poly tunnels. Ian our grower usually practices companion planting with the tomatoes. But he has found a mismatch – chard and tomatoes really do not like growing together.
Late but all the early potatoes are in and the work is starting on main crop spuds now. But no – the potato planting machine is still out of commission due to the thrush who is still feeding her brood in THAT NEST.
Basil, coriander, dill all sown for future crop shares. Parsley is planted out in the poly tunnels, rocket is ready to be sown outside in a row which has been hoed between the onions. We don’t often mention the herbs which are available throughout the summer as we think that our members know that they can cut chives, mint and such from the tubs near the collection point each week. Are we wrong to not remind people of this added bonus?
Chard was sown in the Go Local Food poly tunnels but along came the mice and scratched up the seeds so the job needs redoing. Voles and moles are also active. These too will probably attempt poly tunnel raiding looking for food and shelter as so little is growing outside due to the wet, cold weather.
Ian our grower has seen roe deer in the locality in his travels. He feels that with the weather having put him about a month behind in the growing schedule he can expect to see these up on the fields too. Ever the pessimist is Ian – he seems to work on the principle of if it can go wrong it will and if possible at the most inconvenient time.
The first peppers and tomato seedlings have been potted on – our cheerful grower expects the weekend weather to set them back, maybe severely. The logic of starting them this early is that last year we had a late start with both crops and lost some of the produce as a result.
GO Local Food is all about the environment. We demonstrate that there is an alternative to growing on a large scale using chemicals and systems that have a heavy impact on our environment. We do this very well – each year we learn a little more, and come up with new ideas for improving our efficiency and effectiveness. And each year we are presented with particular challenges often linked to the weather or pests or both – no two years are alike!
We grow seasonal veg, but as we have no storage facilities there are times in the year when we need to supplement our crops with vegetables grown elsewhere, our rule in this case being local and organic, local then national and organic. And this year we’ve had an unusual conundrum. Due to the weather in 2017 our onions, in common with other growers, did not do so well. Though you might not have realised it, there is a general shortage of onions.
‘Poppycock’ (or some other exclamation) I hear you say, the supermarkets and shops are full of onions and so they are. Onions from far afield are available and the supermarkets with their huge buying power are proudly displaying English onions but there aren’t many left for other (smaller) buyers. If we want to buy onions within our budget and with our environmental concerns in mind, our choices are… paying a high price, buying onions from outside the UK, buying a larger quantity than we need or going without … just one of many dilemmas that smaller producers face.