Winter Harvest

CUfiANUWcAA4WBJ.jpg_largeSo it seems that for this year at least, November is the new September: the mild weather in October and early November has meant a prolonged harvest of leafy and rooty crops (my leaf beet Erbette is especially still going strong, probably another 30kg ready to pick right now, plus the regrowth from earlier pickings). And as well as the picking, I have also been gallivanting around meeting people and taking part in seminars, which has been brilliant. On Monday 23rd I was in Ireland, in Athlone, talking to a combination of Irish Organic Growers, Irish Future Growers, students and others interested in starting their own business. It was a packed day filled with inspiration and potential, and was great to see so many people thinking about starting up in horticulture in Ireland.

CUvn1QHWEAEnH3vThen yesterday I nipped over to London to take part in the Roots to Work day organised by Sustain and Capital Growth, offering ideas and advice to growing projects, especially looking at becoming more self-sustaining, rather than relying on grants for income. My brain hasn’t quite assimilated all the info and thoughts from other speakers and participants; but hopefully over the next few weeks, while continuing to pick leeks, kale, salad, celery and turnips, my subconscious will process everything.

I am secretly really glad that some crops are coming to an end (I’ve sold all the squash and pumpkins now, nearly finished beetroot and Jerusalem artichokes, the spinach and nasturtiums have been frosted), or having a break (such as the PSB which has been picked out for the time being); harvesting takes less time now, and gives me a chance to catch up on paperwork, other projects and have a break myself!

Chilled Veg

IMG_20151113_151146You have to feel sorry for the pak choi really don’t you: just look at that naughty frozen hail (‘ice chunks’ would probably be a more accurate description). Once again, the BBC Weather forecast was right (no thunder though as predicted a week in advance, but they did drop that part of the forecast mid-week). Hail showers and heavy rain interspersed with sun. Thanks weather forecasters; the website is definitely one of my top growing tools – and it’s free.

So I thought I’d spend the afternoon under cover, getting the last of the big tunnels ready for salad (the still-to-be-officially-named New or Elephant tunnel): the tomatoes were finally cleared out yesterday, compost added and ground rotovated; then drip-line irrigation put back in place; and Mypex ground cover pinned on top. This afternoon was all about burning planting holes in the ground cover every few inches; and then planting the long-suffering last trays of salad leaves out. The Tat Soi pak choi was looking a bit delicate anyway, and being covered by sideways ice at 40mph probably didn’t go down well. I suspect the plants will be sulking now for a week or so, before they forgive me and start doing something (and I get round to putting proper doors on the tunnel to stop the elements coming in).

Hartley Christmas Market Saturday 28th November

12195080_10154114058489879_1500991084222845170_oCome along and stock up on veg (naturally), as well as yummy mince pies, mulled wine, naughty cheese, naughty chocolates… in fact lots of naughty things. But then buy a nice tasty and healthy mixed salad bag and it will all balance out!