October 2003

What a long dry time it's been. Very glad to have water available in the field to irrigate the crops.

We eventually got our new tunnels covered - the last on the 1st of July. The tomatoes transplanted that week, recovered from their very pot bound state and are producing well.

A significant "first" for us this season was the arrival of spider mite, they thrived in the favourable conditions and the French beans, Cucumbers and Aubergines all suffered as a result. Next year we'll be waiting!

We've had our first taste of the black and red currants, the raspberries and gooseberries - and very nice too, though the latter has us searching for a remedy to the saw fly problem.

The sweet corn grew on well from the transplants this year and produced a decent crop; once that is we had replanted many and fleeced them following the rather too close attentions of the rooks, and latterly with the ground being so dry and hard the badgers have been foraging farther afield and found it -fortunately after we'd picked the best.

Although the carrots started the year poorly with some very erratic germination in the garden plots (too coarse a seed bed and a dry spell) we are now lifting some of the best ever, although it is from the ground most suited to them in the rotation (it will come around again in 6 years time) credit must go to those concerned for the excellent hand weeding job.

The parsnips too are looking good (as above) and a trial sowing of a smoother skinned variety is promising - provided it don't grow too long for us to get out.

This year the swedes survived the attentions of the flee beetle and are filling nicely.

We've had excellent yields from our spuds with two new varieties to us, the 1st early Junior and the red main crop Raja both proving popular

The selection and growing of cut flowers continues to tease, tempt and teach, the anemones, Dahlias and Zinnias doing well.

We're now clearing away early and mid season crops as they finish and sowing green manures to keep the ground covered over winter and to hang on to what nutrients we can.

The oriental brassicas, the main-stay of our salad packs over the winter, have just been planted out and the rocket, American cress and purslane are coming up.

The pumpkins and squashes are ripening well.

Pssst - I hear that when it comes to beetroot this year - it's got to be big!



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