Ready for the Sunshine

After two weeks bouncing between Rhosneigr and Denbigh, I’ve been weirdly grateful that it hasn’t been blistering hot. We just wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the short breaks as a family as one of us would have needed to be constantly on watering duty.

Now that we’re back though, warmth and sunshine are desperately needed to ripen up all the veg and fruit that we’ve got planted in our market garden. Having said that, the blackberries growing wild in the hedgerows are going great guns already, clearly happy with the weather so far. Yesterday morning I managed to harvest about half a kilo in 10 minutes, they were amazing. Together with the rasberries and Victoria plums in our garden they make for a properly tasty breakfast, or we mix them with some yoghurt for pudding! Given how expensive so much fruit seems to be at the moment to buy in (especially the soft and stone fruit) it’s worth spending some time to do some foraging.

In the field:

Planting out – this week we have been planting out lettuces, chard, swede and more kale.

Pinching out and removing bottom leaves from tomatoes and cucumber plants – this is a time consuming process but definitely seems to have a direct correlation with how much fruit we get!

Harvesting – a lot of harvesting – so far we have already harvested 25kg of beetroot, 11kg of kale, 5kg of courgettes and 35 lettuces. I think we will have a good few kilos of tomatoes and patty pan squash too later in the week.

Weeding – having a short break is not a great way to keep weeds under control – argh!! One of the beds was so weedy that I wasn’t sure if anything was still growing. Two weeks ago I looked at the bed and thought ‘that needs a half hour weeding before it gets out of hand’, but I didn’t have half an hour….which meant that very frustratingly on Monday I then spent 2 hours (4 times as long!) trying to clear it. Fortunately the cavalo nero is actually doing quite well so hopefully it will now get a good boost from the lack of competition.

As I’m off at the weekend, am leaving Liz to do as much as she can in the field but know her time will be limited by all the other operational bits of the business (harvesting, box packing, delivering, shop and any other urgent admin). Hopefully in the future we can get more help in the field to get us through August which is always a tricky month for us trying to manage work & life!

In the kitchen:

If you have fennel in your box and aren’t sure what to do with it – here’s some Riverford tips. This fennel, tomato and olive recipe with quinoa looks really good although not tried it yet. We’re going to do some coleslaw this week and try making home-made mayonnaise (always mean to make it but never quite got round to it, and only just acquired a food processor although still learning how to use it, ha).