Starting to Prep for Winter

In the field:

This last week has been about trying to prep for winter, all of our winter crops are in the polytunnels now – predominantly leaves, salad, lettuce, spinach, kale and chard. We have also sown a couple of beds of broad beans. Fingers crossed the mice don’t get these this year, arggh.

Outside we have run the rotary plough along the paths between some of the beds – this turns the well rotted wood-chip that we put down a year or so ago on to the beds – and then we put down new wood chip to restart the cycle. The rotary plough turns about 3 inches of depth from the path on to the bed, so barely damages the soil structure.

We’ve had more wood chip delivered which we have put in and around the high traffic areas by the shed where we store our tools and wheelbarrows etc. Hopefully this will mean that we can use this area for longer after sustained rain, it also smells and feels amazing to walk on and work around! Smart iawn.

You may also recall last year we grew and saved a lot of red carlin peas in a bit of an experiment to see if we could grow our own protein. We proved that we could and haven’t eaten them all, so this week we decided to sow the peas in the recently rebuilt beds as a green manure. The idea is that we let it grow and let the roots do their nitrogen fixing  and then they will die off when the frosts come – that is the theory at least!!

Harvest wise  – it has been more leeks, kale, chard and salad with a smattering of tomatoes. The tomatoes really are coming to an end. We spotted the first bit of blight on a plant on Monday so definitely time to get the last of them out, so that’s it now till next summer.

In the kitchen:

A couple of recipes we’ve come across but not yet tried –

Japanese cabbage pancakes – yep, the name doesn’t do it any favours (in Japanese – Okonomiyaki – it sounds much better!) but check out the recipe here, I actually think it looks good!

This sweet potato and coconut milk stew also sounds interesting.. recipe here.

And if you’re looking to use up some beetroots (there’s been a few in the regular boxes recently, we’ve struggled a bit) here’s a beetroot traybake which I can confirm is very tasty (haven’t made it but eaten it!).

Finally, Riverford can help you with all the cabbage inspiration you might need – read here.

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