Winter is here

So, I hit a wall with the blogging back in August, and it has been five months since I’ve posted. I think this can be put down to the rabbit fence installed, which meant my crops finally took off, as did the business. With September and October’s turnover for my own crops doubling that of July and August, and finally starting to look like something viable.

Growing update

Heritage variety of kale called Westphalian.

Back in August I figured I had five big jobs to go, as well as keeping on top of weeding and markets and veg boxes. They were:
1. Planting out the kales and broccoli and netting them. I got all 10o (approx) kales out and a few broccoli’s, and I didn’t net them. I was very worried about cabbage white butterflies laying eggs on the plants, and toyed with and made some starts at netting, but it was such a slow and cumbersome process to build a secure frame that I gave up. And it was fine, phew, a good decision on my part.
2. Planting out the leeks. And these are looking great, and were large enough to handle the Winter. I’m hoping that leeks alone will cover this year’s rent for the land.
3. Clearing and planting salads in the polytunnel. George and Duncan did most of this and it looked great, full of Purple Osaka, Winter Pursane and Lambs Lettuce. But on 6th November disaster struck and the strong winds took down the tunnel, and all my salads in the process. Based on last year’s figures this cost my £320 in lost salad revenue, but I would have expected it to be higher this year. Losing a tunnel is very unpleasant, and we have lost two this year 😦
4. Rotavating and planting green manure. This was done, and planted with nitrogen fixing Vetch, ready to plough in next season.
5. Consolidating the mange tout that may still crop and re-sowing with another crop where they have failed. I did consolidate, but the crop was still almost a total failure, losing me hundreds if not thousands. I did re-sow this large area with carrots, and they almost made it, due to a very mild November and December, but not quite. Another crop failure (but predictably so this time).
Other jobs that I did manage to find time to do also included sowing two 30m rows of rocket. It is covered with enviromesh now, so fingers crossed it may survive the Winter. I also planted 5kg of Therador garlic.

Update on sales

Some crops did do brilliantly at this stage though, mizuna was crop of the year, coming in

Buttercup and onion squashes

at the £800 mark. The Buttercup and Onion squashes were a good yield at this time of year too. Though I’m glad I didn’t have more, as I had just the right amount to store and get sold before they rotted.
The veg boxes and farmer’s market picked up again after the Summer. And my work load became more manageable again. The end of the year was dominated by rain, and Levenshulme market tailed off due to this, and I had a few soggy days trying to do the veg boxes under the lean to. So, I called December 13th the final day of the season, and turned my attention to resting and planning for the new year. Watch this space!



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