Real Spinach

I Yam What I YamOn the picture you see real spinach in various stages of growth. We hope to have spinach available the whole of March/April. During most of the  year we grow leafbeet which we offer as spinach. Leafbeet is more related to beetroot then to real spinach but is the more reliable cropper as it does not run to seed as quickly as real spinach does. Leafbeet is also good as a cut and come again crop. Real spinach, however, grows better during the winter and this crop on the picture has been sown during October/November and harvesting has started end of February. On the t-shirt it says I yam what I yam. Should you be yamming? Plenty spinach available at the moment.

Lambs Lettuce

Lambs LettuceOn the picture for the first time ever: overwintered lambs lettuce. Normally we have lambs lettuce available in Autumn only. It is risky to let it overwinter in the tunnels but we planted this crop in wide spacings instead of sowing it in dense rows like we normally do and it seems to have paid off. Lambs lettuce is the better tasting winter salad and a good locally grown alternative to imported lettuce.

 

Pruning Days

Long pruningThe first thing we did when we moved here ten years ago was planting hedges and windbrakes. About 1500 hawthorn and small trees on our 1 hectare plot. The hedges do need pruning, however, to avoid them getting too big and competing with our crops for light, water and nutrients. Also some of the small trees have already been coppiced and supplied our first very small batch of firewood.

On the picture, Pete is pruning one of our field boundary hedges. Taking large chunks out of the hedge like here on the picture is called long pruning, opposed to short pruning or clipping like with normal 'formal' hedges. Long pruning only needs doing every other year and allows the plants to grow out naturally and bear flowers and fruit. Clipping is best done twice or more a year.

Local Grown Winter Salad Available

Paul and a polytunnel full of purslaneDue to high transport costs and the weak pound, french lettuce which we have had on offer the last few winters has become terribly expensive. Hence the slightly cheaper but smaller dutch lettuce on offer.

We have also sown more winter purslane this year. Purslane grows like a weed and is frost hardy and bursting with vitamin C - deal for a local winter salad green. Worth a try I think. We hope purslane will be available till our first lettuces come on stream again which means that we will manage making local salad greens available right throughout the year.

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