Riverford Wicked Leeks

it's impossible to please a grower

Monday 10th May 2010

At the beginning of last July we were absolutely desperate for rain. Talk of global warming and extreme weather littered the pages of every newspaper, as the Peterborough area drifted through two months with barely a splash from the skies. A month ago we thought we were in for more of the same as April and May yielded very little in the way of spring showers.

What a difference a month makes! The early rain in June was an absolute Godsend. All the newly planted squash, courgette, sweetcorn and brassica transplants got the drink that they desperately needed. The rains also kick started the germination of the parsnips that had been sitting biding their time in the dry soil. The moisture eventually permeated the top soil to be absorbed into their tiny seed coats enabling them to expand and explode with a new root and shoot. We were also desperate for some water on our newly drilled grass and clover fields. They were planted at the end of May which is a little risky. If the grass and clover germinates and pokes out of the surface to experience a prolonged hot, dry spell it will completely die off. The gamble has paid off completely with enough rain to keep the soils moist for weeks to come.

While the rain has helped get a number of our crops going, it does play havoc with harvesting. Cutting lettuce, baby leaf salads and spinach in wet weather is a nightmare. Even when the rain stops it is difficult to keep everything remotely dry and soil free. We also don