Mid May Market Gardening

Spring switches so quickly to Summer, it seems only a few weeks ago that we were worried about frosts and whilst temperatures are still quite low at night – the day time temperatures have rocketed! Market gardening at this time of year is non-stop and between Rosie, Liz and I we have put in a few big shifts including all weekend.

We recently had a large delivery of compost about 4 cubic metres and I noticed that it was still hot and so I was a bit worried that if we planted straight into it tht we might burn/kill off the seedlings. Thus, I spent a large part of Saturday barrowing compost onto beds (about 7 wheel barrows per bed at about 1.5″ thick) to then leave it to cool down ready for planting out into this week which Rosie has now done.. more shortly.

The warm weather has massively increased our stress levels with regards watering – with small plants particularly susceptible to over or under watering. Market gardening is not something that you can leave for more than 12 hours really especially when it is sunny! Liz and I had planned to go away this weekend with Charlotte but reality has dawned on us that it is too much to ask someone to look after the field for more than a day. So I will be heading off to Cornwall with Charlotte, leaving Liz and Saila (our dog) to keep everything watered (we need to get Saila trained to use a watering can!) and then doing the box packing and delivering next week!

Sowing:

This week we have been sowing french beans, runner beans, more spinach, cucumbers, courgettes, patty pan squash

Pricking out:

Cavalo Nero kale, Westland curly kale, tomatoes, tray of lettuce,

Planting out:

80 tomato plants, bed of cauliflowers, bed of spring greens, another bed of leeks, 2 beds of lettuces, bed of peas. bed of courgettes, bed of purple sprouting brocolli. In total this is about 300 plants planted this week

Harvesting:

10kg of chard – we cleared the bed as we were going – this was the last of the over wintered chard – these beds had compost added and then planted out with tomatoes, 4kg of cavalo nero Kale, 10kg of spring greens, 30 lettuces, 20 bunches of radishes.

In the kitchen:

We’re really feeling the hungry gap boxes, getting through them really quickly and having to supplement with lots of things like pulses, rice, cheese (loving halloumi!) and meat. Wish we had more frozen veg in the freezer at times like this.

The Small boxes this week definitely have a hungry gap feel to them, the cavalo Nero we planned for the boxes didn’t go as far as planned and the substitute spring greens we’d harvested are definitley a bit floppy – looking to next week – it’s looking much better! (sneak preview of what’s planned for the boxes next week if you want to see)

We’ve been doing veggie chilli, pasta alla norma (aubergine and tinned tomatoes), risotto, curries. But we are so looking forward to all that amazing new UK veg, and being able to go to the field and pick tomatoes and beans and peas (and Chris just reminded me about the amazing Spanish padron peppers from Bryn Cochyn – we saw the plants growing the other day!) Here are some hungry gap recipes from Riverford for you but hopefully we’ll soon be into new recipes and meals.