Looking ahead to sunnier days, we'll start harvesting as soon as the dew is off the crops and the combine has had its daily service, which involves cleaning air filters, checking oil and greasing all the bearings. Then we'll continue harvesting until at least 10 pm, sometimes working into the early hours.
More stories on Harvesting
Sep '08 15
Sep '08 5
With all this rain our milling grains, such as wheat and rye which are largely used for bread making, can be affected and in particular the quality of the starch, which forms most of the flour. The quality of the grain is checked using a Hagberg test which measures the potential quality of the dough. In a dry sunny harvest the Hagberg number is high which means the grain has the potential to produce a good elastic dough, but when it's wet like this it starts to think it's back in the ground as a seed again and results in inferior dough....and bread.
Jun '08 25
We currently open the 'Veg Shed' on a Wednesday morning where people can come and buy our fresh produce. This week, to make it more available, we are planning to increase our opening days to Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, when we sell everything from potatoes to carrots and salad.
Jun '08 4
We're grading last year's carrots which came out of the earth in October/November. They've been stored at 3 degrees in a refrigerated vegetable store. They go into our vegetable boxes and we also sell them to other box schemes. The carrots are also used in the Duchy Originals vegetable crisps. We planted most of our potatoes three weeks ago. We have five varieties: Cara, Cosmos, Robinta, Sarpo Mira and Remarka. The reason we grow so many varieties is that it never pays to have all your eggs in one basket. Some varieties will do better than others in a given year.
May '08 14
Crops in the Spring are affected by two things: temperature and day length. We started sowing the Spring crops the first few days in March. The malting barley (Plumage Archer and Westminster) went in first followed by the Spring oats. The last crop we planted was the mustard in mid-April. The rye is the most advanced crop, about nine inches high; with the long days it grows quickly and will go up to 6 ft. We start harvesting the rye in late July, early August, and we go straight through with the wheat and malting barley. It's always a frantic time. No lying on the beach for me.