Spring has arrived and, after a frustratingly dormant winter, the farm is once again a hive of activity. Brought on by the sudden rise in temperature, the last of the overwintered crops are rushing to maturity giving us a late flush of cauliflower, leeks, purple sprouting broccoli and greens plus the wild garlic from our woods. The lengthening days are telling these plants it is now or never for procreation, so our mission is to get them harvested before they rush to seed. You may find an emerging bolt in the centre of your leek; given a chance this would extend to a metre in just a few days to carry the star burst flower typical of the allium family. Our rule is that if we see it poking out of the shank we have missed our chance and it stays in the field. In the early stages the bolt is fairly tender and digestible but if it offends you, slice the leek lengthways and remove.
Meanwhile we are harvesting the first salad onions and the first few sticks of rhubarb for the Field Kitchen; they should be available to buy with your regular order at the end of this month and in the boxes from May.
Apart from the picking we are busy preparing ground (muck spreading, ploughing and cultivating) ahead of a busy planting schedule; early lettuce, chard, spinach, cabbage and carrots are planted under covers and most of the potatoes are now in the ground. We have even started irrigating the shallow planted crops like lettuce which need help getting their roots out and down to the moist soil below.