Wednesday 15 February 2012

Matthew's Blog - Frozen Fields & Pesky Pigeons

The new year has seen the unseasonally mild conditions that brought about our late carrot fly attack (November) and encouraged the purple sprouting to flourish and the kale to begin its seed setting ritual, giving way to more traditional winter conditions.

Four inches of snow have lay covering the fields for the past week and daytime temperatures have struggled to get above 2 degrees c.

Roy has found it impossible to harvest beetroot, turnips and parsley as they lay beneath the frozen white blanket. Above the snow harvesting continues but many crops are taking twice as long to gather in and it is a constant battle keeping the large flock of wood pigeons off the taller sprouts, kale and purple sprouting crops as they fly searching for nourishment away from there preferred food of choice oilseed rape.

Oilseed rape is grown by the majority of large farms in our area but is struggling to poke its leaves through the snow, as Roy’s greens are from the same plant family he is normally guaranteed a visit when the weather turns bad.

My autumn planted garlic was showing about 5cm of leaf above the soil when the bad weather set in and is now completely covered.
It is said that planted garlic cloves will benefit from a period of cold winter weather as this is supposed to help bulb formation and flavour, this year will certainly test out the theory. The first of the new season garlic is normally ready in early June, so have those taste buds ready so we can put it to the test.

Sitting eating my breakfast Sunday morning I felt sorry for the birds that were struggling to find food through the covering of snow. I decided to break up some leftover bread and scatter it on the lawn I had cleared. Sitting back feeling good about helping the sparrows and blackbirds I was most distressed to look out of the window and see the largest wood pigeon I have ever seen clearing up nearly every piece.

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