Lots more planting and everything is growing so fast!
We have been spending the last couple of weeks continuing to prepare beds and plant them. We got a lot in the ground this week including more chard, perpetual spinach, more basil and sage (in the heat of the polytunnels!), new zealand spinach, lettuce, other salad leaves including mallow, orache, burnet and buckshorn plantain, beetroot, dwarf french beans, sweetcorn, more kale, and some globe artichokes. Next week...We will be continuing with planting next week - getting in more successions of beetroot, getting the squash in and some more kale and sowing some more carrots.
We will also start to train some of the indoor tunnel crops such as the tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers - by sideshooting we will encourage more fruits, and we need to stake the peppers too.
We have just started to prepare some of the beds that had early crops in such as turnips, radish, salads and kale in different ways, and something that is working especially well for us in this heat is solarization - this is where we mow down the old crop (and any weeds) and then lay down clear plastic over the bed weighed down with sandbags. This heats up and kills off and weeds and crop residue. It can mean that a bed can be ready to plant within a day without having to cultivate. It is very impressive and a useful technique for hot weather. It can also be really useful to create stale seed beds before we direct sow crops like carrots which otherwise have to compete with the weeds. In this case we usually have a cultivated bed that we water and let the first flush of weeds germinate and then lay the plastic over it for a day and all of the weeds are killed off. We can then sow into a weed free bed and the carrots can grow quickly with very little competition from the weeds.
We grow a few crops for seed at Trill, some for our own use and to exchange with other growers and some comercially for small seed companies like Real Seeds and Tamar Organics.
It is always interesting to see the crops full life cycle which would generally otherwise not be seen, for example with chard and parsnips that we are saving for seed this year. When they start flowering they grow very large and require supports which we put up this week. These crops were both sown last year as you would for growing the crop normally. We then selected the healthiest crops and those that fit to the variety characteristics and replanted them at wider spacings to allow good ventialtion when they get to flowering and seeding stage. We will be harvesting the seed in July/August for these.
What's in the bags at the moment?
We are continuing to take on a few more organic veg bag delivery customers in Axminster and Seaton so please do get in touch if you would like to get an order from us.
For those of you who have been getting the organic veg bag deliveries, we are getting more and more of our own produce now, and it is just potatoes that are not our own at the moment (potatoes will no longer be in the bags every week). We have had the first of the beetroot, broad beans, wet garlic and little gem in the bags the last couple of weeks, and we will be harvesting agretti next week for some of the bags. Agretti is a lovely Italian vegetable which we have grown for a few years now. It can simply be blanched and then mixed with a bit of fried garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper. We will also have kohl rabi in the bags probably the week after next - this is lovely just sliced thinly and eaten raw with a vinaigrette. The first of our red little gem lettuce are ready now too, and don't forget - these are lovely on the bbq or griddled (just salt them a bit first for half an hour or so and then place on the bbq/griddle and char them. Them just add a squeeze of lemon.
We are probably just two weeks away from cucumbers being ready for the veg bags, and courgettes will be ready about the same time too - that will really feel like summer has started!
Ashley has been running Trill Farm Garden since 2010 with his partner Kate. Ellen is the Senior Grower and Seed Coordinator at Trill Farm Garden.