here comes the sun?

Picking, planting and weeding all overlap in July making for a hectic few weeks before we can relax a little in August. We are still struggling against the rain to pick the last of the strawberries; they can only be picked when the fruit is dry, meaning that in patchy weather we cannot always get as many for the boxes as we had planned. By the end of the month we must have planted all the winter leeks, cauliflower and most of the cabbage. And then there are the weeds; in a wet year timely hoeing is more important than ever because once the weeds catch hold and develop a significant root system they are able to re-root, making even the most vigorous efforts futile.

We are all waiting for the summer of 2008, especially the heat loving crops like sweetcorn, runner beans and pumpkins. Some of these crops are still looking sad and have yet to get going. The bugs in the soils that break down organic matter are also highly temperature dependent and have yet to wake up fully to their task, with the result that some of the more hungry crops are looking pinched. Farmers will always moan; the truth is that compared to 2007, this year has been a breeze and if we do get some sun we will be glad of the moisture the recent rains have put into our soils.

Price rise

Yes; us too. In defiance of all the hype about food inflation we hoped to make it through the year without a price rise, but we just can