2011 was a 'funny old year' weather wise, mild and wet from January (after a very cold and snowy Nov and Dec), then very hot and dry in April, May and June. We finally got a decent amount of rain in July, and then some more and some more! A definite lack of sun and warmth through July and August, followed by a wonderfully sunny September and October was pretty good too (even I went swimming in the sea that first weekend!). And winter has been very kind to us as growers so far, relatively mild with few frosts, our winter greens are faring much better than last winter, no complaints there, too mild even to affect the whitefly that like to hide in the curly kale.
But it does seem un-seasonally mild, and the spring and summer did seem a bit mixed up, so a bit unsettling. Its much easier growing vegetables when the weather does what you expect!
No photo blog in Nov and Dec due to my camera not working, but back in action now, so I thought I would show you everything that we are harvesting on the farm at the moment (despite it being January, we still spend at least 4 days a week harvesting and packing for farmers markets, our box scheme, other home delivery and box schemes (including Growing Communities, Harvest 4 U, Sutton Farm and Local Greens), shops and restaurants in Kent and London (too many to mention, see our website for a listing).
We sell at Wye, Whitstable and Stoke Newington Farmer's Markets, all of which only allow us to sell produce we have grown ourselves.
|sprouts - not just for Christmas!|
|A selection of cabbages........|
|Celeriac, most is covered by straw for frost protection.|
|Beetroot, again, most of the crop is snug under a layer of straw|
|Carrots under fleece, with more under straw.|
|And here's the beetroot under straw.|
|Not much to see, but there are some parsnips in these beds, we have to search for them, not our best crop this year, as many didn't germinate in the hot, dry spring|
|Purple Sprouting Broccoli|
|Green Curly Kale|
|Cavelo Nero (Black Kale)|
|Red Curly Kale|
|Tha mainstay of our winter salad bags - 'green-in-snow' mustard leaf|
|Rocket, going to seed now, but the flowering shoots are great in salads.|
|Sweet Red Russian Kale, the smaller leaves are harvested for salad,|
and the larger ones for stir fry bags and mixed kale bags
|Sweet Hungry Gap Kale, again the smaller leaves are great in salads (similar taste to pak-choi)|
|A glasshouse full of Claytonia, the cultivated form of the wild plant 'Spring Beauty'. Also known as 'Miners Lettuce, getting its name due to its use as a fresh salad green by miners in the 1849 Gold Rush in California|
|Red Mustard leaves, growing in a glasshouse.|
|One of the more tender winter salad leaves, Mizuna. This crop has already been cut once, and if the mild weather continues we will get another cut from it.|
|And the crops harvested in the Autumn and now in store include potatoes (under the covers),|
as well as onions and squash.
|Over-wintered garlic, something to look forward to in the Spring (we do still have some stored, dried garlic too).|
|And a late crop of leeks ( we do also have some larger ones we are harvesting at the momet)|