May / June 2021 News

It finally stopped raining at the end of May and we now have lots of baby plants ready to transplant and lots of weeding to catch up on! Anything we planted before May’s rain kept on coming has grown OK but not as fast as the weeds have! We’re having to do a lot more hoeing and hand-weeding than we’d like as we can’t use the tractor mounted steerage hoe when the ground is too wet. Our courgettes and summer squash were transplanted on 2/6, a bit later than usual, but should soon catch up with the current forecast. We had to do an emergency sowing of crown prince squash trays into trays the same day as rooks had taken all the ones we seeded direct into the field (luckily, we had only done a quarter of what we planned). The rooks are too clever for us and we don’t have enough crop covers for everything, so no more direct seeding of squash!!

We’re getting to the end of the UK ‘Hungry Gap’ but early crops have been 2 or 3 weeks later than usual this year. We have been harvesting our own new season’s lettuce, salad leaves, kale, spinach and green garlic in May. Spring onions and chard will be ready in early June, with new potatoes not far behind hopefully.

We’ve heard a couple of turtle doves singing at Ripple Farm during May, although not sure if they are ‘a couple’. And the excess of rain in May meant our 2 new, small ponds are filling up nicely and the winter’s hedge planting got off to a good start. Oh, and our newly installed 10 m3 rainwater collection tank was soon full and the collected rainwater was used for watering the baby plants.

Orchard field is bursting into colour as the crimson clover in amomgst the rye and vetch is flowering now. It's there to feed the soil and feeds the soul and bees and other pollinators too.