Tuesday 17 July 2012

Growing produce in the rain - what is it like?

From Martin Mackey, of Ripple Farm Organics, who has a a small horticultural farm of 14 acres situated in the Stour Valley, Kent.

We have never seen such consistent wet damp summer weather here in 20 years farming in East Kent, so much so that we are unable to get onto the fields with tractors and machinery. This is especially surprising given that we are farming on free draining light chalky soils that can normally handle any rainfall with ease!

There are several knock-on effects of this::

1, Our planting and sowing schedules are disrupted as we cannot prepare ground and travel on it.

2, Weeds are growing like mad, and weed control cannot be assisted by the inter-row tractor mounted implements and therefore has to be all done by hand, and of course we have not got enough hands!

3, Fungal disease is worse in wet, low sunlight conditions and is causing crop damage and losses, (epecially blight in potatoes)

4, All harvesting has to be done by hand and carried out of fields by hand!

And after this tale of woe we find that people dont get out shopping normally in the wet and so we are all affected!

The wet reminds me of my childhood growing up in county cork.

Martin Mackey

Ripple Farm Organics.

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