Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A difficult summer

Mulching a pear tree in spring
2007 Season – news so far (written by Jill): The new season started with a promising but rather unseasonable hot and sunny April leaving us complaining of drought conditions by the first week in May! Since then it seems like we have had nothing but rain, wind and overcast days. Unfortunately this has been perfect weather for fungal diseases, slugs and weeds to flourish and this has had a severe effect on some of our crops:

  • Broad, French and runner beans have failed to set due to the lack of bees and other pollinating insects, resulting in no beans or late crops

  • Sugar snap peas have brown marks on pods, spread by rain splash (but should not affect eating)

  • Onions and garlic are small and have been badly knocked back by fungal diseases – again this may affect storage.

  • Brassicas and lettuce are slow to develop and have been devastated by slugs

  • Potato blight has hit particularly early and has gone into some of the tubers (brown/grey coloured flesh) and may affect winter storage.

  • Tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines and peppers are taking longer than usual to mature, and have also been subject to fungal disease.

  • Apples have bad scab and canker.

We trust that you will understand the problems we have encountered and stick with us. With the loss of things like the beans, we have been struggling to find enough variety to put in the bags/boxes so far, but hope that the “summer veg” will come into its own soon. We hope that over a full year, our bags will average out as being good quality and value. We do our best but we can’t control what the weather brings us. As you know, our vegetables and fruit are seasonal and all produce comes from our two farms.

Potato day: Jill and Mike will be holding a “potato harvesting day” where the potatoes, once lifted out of the ground by tractor, need to be picked and packed into storage crates. Refreshments will be provided during the day and a few extra pairs of hands would make all the difference and hopefully the day will be fun too. They can’t be sure of the date because it’s very weather-dependent though it will be at a weekend sometime quite soon – provisionally sometime during the Bank holiday weekend August 25-27 September 1st. If you would like to come along, please call Jill. She will then contact you when a date can be confirmed (dependant on having a a couple of days of dry weather).

Re-use and recycling of packaging: Thank you for returning the cardboard veg boxes and any used and clean punnets, egg boxes and carrier bags. We try to use as many paper bags as possible and you will be pleased to hear that we are about to change over to biodegradable plastic bags.

Bag collection and payment: Thanks for picking up the veg promptly any time after 5pm on Fridays. It helps if you can pay for the veg on a monthly basis, but please remember that some months have 5 weeks in them! Any cheques should be made payable to Val Lynas.

No comments: