I want to share things that I learn as I go on this Be Locals journey and this post is definitely one of those!
So, the fresh veg in Richard's fields look fantastic to me and they are but and it's an important but, they need to be moved from here to the field next door where they will have the space they need to grow. Some of you may know this by looking at the picture but I don't think I'm alone in not knowing this until Richard told me. By the way, every one of those seedlings is replanted by hand! Did I say that farming is hard work but what a reward. It's not many people who can say that they grow enough veg from seeds to feed 1000s of people!
So, what's the problem? The problem is that we haven't had any decent rain for ages so the ground is really dry. Thinking about it, my road bike hasn't been cleaned in ages because there's been no wet riding so Richard is definitely right and his soil does not lie! These seedlings need wet soil to be successfully replanted and Richard can't do this at the moment because the ground is as you can see - really dry. It rained last Wednesday - not a deluge but some steady rain for a few hours. It wasn't enough. The next day it was sunny and warm and the water hadn't sunk into the ground so it just evaporated and the ground was back to as you see. Here's the thing, if the vegetables are left there, they'll get too big and they won't have enough space to properly grow BUT he can't move them yet so what do you do???? I didn't realise there was so much jeopardy in farming in the UK.
I also never knew how the weather affected when you do things as a farmer. I knew of course that weather was important - enough rain, enough sunshine, the right temperature - but I didn't really understand what the implications of bad farming weather are. It's like crop rotation. I remember studying it once at school, learning how it was important to move crops around from year to year to maintain the quality of the soil but now it means a lot more because I see Richard actually doing this on his farm and that farm is his livelihood and the livelihood of his family and other farming families that work the farm.
We'll have to see what happens next with the rain. He may have to use irrigation to soften the soil but he said it never works as well as rain. The other interesting thing he said is that the veg grows better with rainwater rather than water from out of the tap because of the minerals that are contained in the rain. Again, I did not know that!
Fingers crossed for rain! Never thought I'd say that!
Those that were lucky enough to get some fresh broad beans on Saturday, there's probably 2 weeks worth left. They were picked at 9am and I delivered them all by 11.30am, fresh as you like! If you want veg that fresh, then get your orders in before Friday! Order at www.belocals.uk