Riverford Wicked Leeks

a waiting game

We have had some welcome rain; enough to germinate the waiting seeds but not enough to significantly replenish soil reserves. The first onions sets emerged amongst a mat of weeds. Faced with a potentially horrendous weeding task, we took the decision to flame weed. This involves a quick blast from a tractor mounted flame weeder, which bursts the cells of the weeds causing them to die within a few hours. The onions, being more robust and having their growing point protected by outer leaves, lose a few leaves but quickly recover. They will now have a head start over the weeds; giving us the chance to control future flushes of germination by inter-row cultivations, which also throw earth into the row to smother emerging weeds between the plants. If we get it wrong, or it rains at the wrong time, we spend a lot of time on our hands and knees or lying face down, nine in a row, on the tractor mounted bed-weeder inching painfully slowly across the field arguing about which radio station to listen to!

Hungry gap

I can hardly believe that we have got to May without me moaning about the