Wednesday 22 February 2012

Matthews Blog - Drought, Carrot Drilling & New Greens

What a difference a week makes, the snow is forgotten and the gutters are dripping. As temperatures head towards double figures the mind starts to think of spring. The soils start to dry and fingers get twitchy, the slightest glimpse of such weather makes me eager to get the first drilling of carrots into the ground. For now patience is required, weather forecasts are checked daily in the hope they will promise a string of good drying days so good seedbeds can be produced.

With winter appearing to be short, 2011 is confirmed as the driest 12 months in England and Wales for 90 years and with no considerable rain forecast, water companies are once again warning of possible water shortages for large parts of England this summer.
Speaking ahead of this week’s drought summit, National Farmers Union vice president Gwyn Jones said, “ The Environment Agency is already forecasting drought and severe restrictions on irrigation in several Eastern counties.”
Following this Defra announced that the South east of England had joined parts of East Anglia in drought.
With root crops and salads heavily reliant on adequate irrigation, some farmers in the worst effected areas have already changed their cropping plans for 2012 by reducing the amount of roots they grow.

The worst drought predicted for 90 years just happens to coincide with me taking over the carrot growing from Roy and Rita. I will let you know later in the year whether or not it was the right decision but I am actually looking to increase the amount of carrots grown to meet demand. This also means greater investment in machinery, seed and crop protection.

Most of the early season seed has now arrived and finishing touches have been made to the transplant orders. New additions for me this year will be wild rocket and basil during the summer, thyme, sage, kohl rabi and pak choi for the autumn. Alongside this there will also be increased amounts of garlic, shallots, torpedo onions, celery, french beans, carrots and fennel.

As well as their usual tasty offerings Roy and Rita will be planting more lettuce and cavelo nero for the summer and autumn, and a new green that should bring you succulent greens from January 2013.

No comments:

Post a Comment