Thursday, 8 January 2015

News from the Farm

A very happy new year to you all. It was great to take a break over Christmas. It’s the one time of year we can give everybody two week’s veg and pretty much shut up shop. We stayed in Wivenhoe for Christmas, saw family and friends and had plenty of time to relax.
Back to business now though. January will entail lots of office work. The necessary evils like accounts, cashflow forecasting and business planning along side the more pleasurable task of planning the next growing season.

This week I am doing a stocktake of our seeds to see what we need to order for this year. We have our tried and tested varieties but each year we’ll make a few changes or try something new. We are going to grow more ‘Butternut’ squash as they performed well and are very popular. We’re choosing a mildew resistant variety of onion this year as our crop suffered from that last year. We’ll grow more ‘Quadro’ tomatoes as they had such good disease resistance and gave a steady crop with out too big a ‘glut’. We may also try a few peppers outdoor and hope for a hot summer!

We’ve already ordered our potatoes. I spent a fair few hours researching to choose varieties with good disease resistance – notably scab and blight – as well as a degree of drought tolerance and of course good eating qualities.

We decided on Maris Bard for waxy first earlies and the popular Charlotte for a great tasting second early salad type. We chose three maincrop varieties all with very good resistance to scab and blight. Orla which will also serve as an early, Cara – especially good in dry conditions and Setanta which I have not grown before but is very highly spoken of for it’s eating qualities. We’re also growing a few of a purple skinned heritage variety called ‘Arran Victory’ reputedly one of the best for roasting.

It’s an enjoyable process planning what, how much and where to plant. It’s a real balancing act trying to grow enough of each crop whilst leaving room for everything else but satisfying when it all comes together. I love choosing varieties and finding what works well for us and it’s always exciting to open the parcel of little seed packets with such big potential in the field.

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