A second netting tunnel was required to cover more purple sprouting to keep off the predators (pigeons, rabbits, others as spotted) but the question was – what netting? Most of it was in use already.
Hah – said Ian the grower. We’ll use the old strawberry nets. That turned out to be a bad idea as when the nets were laid out there were so many holes that it was a darning job. Have you ever seen fishermen mending their nets? Pretty much the same principle here except that Ian had learned his trade on hay nets using fishermen’s knots and bailer twine in a previous job.
Anyway – mending was duly done, boards collected to go around the bottom of the nets and a massive planting session ensued. The rain had made the soil more like soil and less like concrete so it was a good day for planting.
Despite the amount of watering done by the crop shares, Ian our grower says that the weight of crops seem to be down by a third. The potatoes are small and light, the calabrese is smaller than expected and the tomatoes are suffering from heat and drought. Just three examples of how crops are being affected.
Despite this, the winter netted tunnel for the purple sprouting broccoli has been erected so that the crop can be planted out. It’s either that or the crop will die in the modules.
Such is the pressure of growing at the moment – not just at Go Local Food but for all farmers seeking to grow vegetable crops at the moment in the UK.
The hot dry weather means that Go Local Food has a lettuce growing problem. It’s too hot in the poly tunnels and too hot outside. Lettuce doesn’t like weather this hot (nor dry). The winter cabbages have the same problem so not yet planted out even though this needs doing NOW. With it being so dry, the celeriac can’t be planted out yet. Even if it should be done NOW.
Though the pumpkins and other squash have been planted out, this means watering every day due to it being so hot and dry.
But it’s perfect onion drying weather!
All the peppers are being lifted and put into tubs. A little manure in the bottom of the tub, a little soil and then a large root ball around the peppers will fill up the tub. The tubs will then be placed back on the border space the peppers were previously using. That should stop Mr Mole tunnelling under the peppers then. Won’t solve the problem in the tomato area though.
I’m sure that work share Chris Pentney who spent one of her “shifts” preparing a bed for chilis and peppers will maybe not appreciate Mr Mole undoing her earlier good work of soil preparation. And making more work for all the work shares to do.
The sun is out and very hot, the weather is very dry. All crops are having to be watered – out on the fields as well as in the poly tunnels. The nice porous, good growing soil is not holding moisture. Ian our grower would like to water only once a week but it’s every other day at present.
Of course the water pressure up at the fields is really poor. The pleasure of being at the top of the hill. So the water in all the tanks is used in the first round of watering in the morning. The tanks are then allowed to refill and later on in the afternoon the whole watering process has to be repeated.
The hot dry weather is holding up the planting out of the winter brassicas as they aren’t able to stand the heat. So the brassica bed is having to be cleared of annual weeds again. Heavy duty permanent weed membrane is going to be laid down when this is completed to stop more weeds growing. This membrane will let the rain through – whenever it chooses to rain of course.