The season begins

plaoughed cropped
The field after ploughing, and our veg box crates.

Our season starts when the ploughing happens, and with a wet March, we were beginning to feel it would never happen. It is always a nervous time, as you need a good week of dry weather to dry out the soil. Then the chicken muck spreading is done by our landlord’s son, and then finally ploughing and tilling it.

First job on 4th April is to sow 14x10m of broad beans, as ideally these would have gone in earlier, but the ground wasn’t ready. Then we do 60m of beetroot, which we cover with fleece, even though it’s a boltardy variety. Then its 19m of rocket, which is covered by a thick mesh which means flea beetle cannot penetrate and ruin the value of the crop.

Then its all hands to black plastic, which is our best defense against the couch grass. We

plastic crop
George and Duncan doing a fantastic job laying the black plastic.

grow all the alliums and the courgettes and squashes through it. It costs about £150 for 600m, which is some expense at the start of the season.

Then the week after we sow Marketmore cucumbers for the tunnel, and plant out our 40 tomatoes which we buy in. This is early for the tomatoes to be ready for planting out, so we should get a really early crop, which will be welcome. They already have their flower buds formed. We do another 20m each of rocket and red mizuna, all the brassica salads go under the mesh. Red mizuna has changed its name to purple frills, which I just can’t get my head around, it sounds like underwear not salad. Then two 19m of carrots were planted, after having the couch grass dug out and the rotovator put through.

Fingers crossed for getting onions, more beetroot and all the brassicas planted out in the next couple of weeks. And also for all of these crops making it, which they haven’t all in the years before due to rabbits and slugs.

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