As I write, the last lettuces are being planted into a perfect seedbed under a promisingly leaden sky. We would still like to see a little more rain, but it has been a very easy planting season, with moderate amounts of rain at the right time; enough moisture to get crops established without delaying the planting teams for more than a few hours. Where we irrigate the reservoirs are getting low, but with already shortening days and heavier dews we will have enough water to see us through.
Timing is critical for these last plantings; in terms of growth, one sunny, warm, sixteen-hour day with plenty of moisture now is worth ten bleak, frosty eight-hour days in January. A week’s delay in planting can mean a two month delay in harvest. Over the years we have recorded and computed planting and harvesting dates but still have to take into account the aspect, fertility and location of the field. Every year is different anyway so it invariably goes wrong at some point in the winter.
With the planting over and so many of you on holiday or munching through allotments and gardens, we find ourselves surrounded by more veg then we can fit in the boxes. French and runner beans, calabrese, bunched beets and tomatoes are all at their peak and at their best, to name but a few. We are starting to see the first red chillies and sweetcorn and even a few leeks. August and September are a veg lover’s paradise, with an abundance and variety in the boxes to inspire any cook. If you have any friends who might be on the verge of trying a veg box please give them a nudge now. I know many of you refer people anyway (thanks for your support; word of mouth recommendation is easily our largest source of new customers). I resent every penny spent on marketing.