DCF continues to flourish, at the moment producing radishes, spinach, spring onions, rhubarb and herbs with the help of our homemade compost.
We’re looking forward to good crops from seeds sown directly into the plots, whilst others have been started at home and then transplanted to the farm.
There have been a few hiccups; gooseberry sawfly larvae have gorged themselves on some leaves on a gooseberry bush but hopefully they were picked off in time for the fruit to continue growing (see photos), blackfly has appeared on some of the broad bean tops, in spite of having been covered with netting and the Pink Fir Apple potatoes have had to be burnt as they had succumbed to potato blight.
It was definitely warmer when I last posted but although winter temperatures are with us, crops such as leeks, spinach and chard are being harvested. In polys, rocket seedlings are slowly growing and cabbage plants are making progress, covered with net to try and deter pests.
One entire patch of lettuce seedlings has provided food for slugs, so around another patch the deterrent of eggshells may hopefully keep these molluscs at bay.
Among other jobs, areas under soft fruit bushes are being cleared of weeds, empty plots are receiving manure and then covered with mypex and a new strawberry patch has taken shape, planting through mypex to reduce weeding.
Big mistake. We should not have removed the nets encirling the pole beans.
Rabbits (we think, as opposed to deer) have bitten through many stems, so, although we are harvesting cobra and runner beans at present, some plants (including the borlottas) will die. We have replaced the nets, shortening the height, in the hope rabbits can’t reach up but we can reach down behind the nets to harvest the beans. Take note for next year.
The weeds are growing well, so quickly that the red onions have been inundated and we are concerned only a few have survived; a case of fingers crossed.
In battling the rabbits, even more patches have had to be covered, particularly during the young stage of growth. Netting now surrounds the squash beds.
The celeriac didn’t appreciate the unseasonal cold temperatures, with some deciding to go to seed but even with the strange weather this year, crops are developing and ripening and our take home box now includes carrots, spring onions, mangetout, strawberries, rhubarb and the start of the red currants, basil, kale, chard and spinach.
Another row of beetroot was sown for a succession crop.
Cauliflower and broccoli seedlings were planted and covered with the new enviromesh, although when cutting it, we discovered we had been supplied with a shorter length than that ordered, so adjustments had to be made.
Amongst other jobs, we finished erecting the bean pole canes (aided by a little helper), so the remaining climbing beans could be planted and then, as with the majority of the crops, protected from rabbit nibbling.
Fortunately we chose a day of light wind and only a few spots of rain in order to cover one of the polys, (needed as tomato plants were definitely ready, some possessing flowers).
Poles and canes are being erected to support the climbing beans.
Leek and mangetout seedlings were carefully planted but we’ve had failures; beasties have eaten cabbage plants and many of the cucumber plants, the latter we think by rats so a quick protection system has been improvised.
As restrictions are being lifted, we have managed to meet carefully, although the coffee and cake routine is still bring your own.