January/February 2021 News

We feel like we’re getting some ‘normal’ winter weather this year with plenty of frosty mornings (and amazing sunrises), although still lots of wet, milder days too so the fields are very wet, of course. We’re just grateful that we have chalky soils that drain well – we’re not looking forward to next week’s snow that is forecast though.

New Season’s growing – most of our seed potatoes, onion sets, seeds and compost for the 2021 growing season have either arrived or been ordered and in January we made a start on sowing leek seeds in module trays. Out in the fields we have spread some composted manure on frosty mornings when the ground is hard. Our seeding glasshouse has been tidied, seed trays washed and seeding plans made ready for lots more seed sowing in February.

ELMS   The mechanism for subsidising agriculture in the UK is changing, and in England the new scheme due to start in 2024 is ELMS (environmental land management scheme), which rewards ‘payment for public goods’. ‘Public goods’ include such things as clean water and air, increasing biodiversity and climate change mitigation, much of which is already being delivered by organic farming as well as community and cultural benefits, amongst other things. Martin has been contributing to research undertaken by the Land Workers Alliance to help make the scheme relevant to horticulture, organic horticulture in particular. When fully operational it should result in an increase in organic and regenerative farming in the UK. COVID has definitely driven more demand for locally grown, organic vegetables - we know we’re not the only organic box scheme to have a waiting list -  more growers are needed! We’ve already been finding it harder to source UK grown organic potatoes, carrots and onions to the box scheme this year due mostly to increased demand (as well as the effects of the wet autumn/winter).

Flower sprouts (aka kalettes)  - the large boxes had  a bag of these last week, the smalls have some this week and hopefully the mediums will get some soon and they are also in the stir fry bags. They are a cross between a sprout and kale and need very little cooking. Best steamed whole for 5-6 mins or cut in half and added to a stir fry