planning the planting

As we come to the end of probably the worst winter I have known (yes, even worse than last year), we can start to draw a line under the devastation in its wake. There have been quite a few write offs, namely purple sprouting broccoli and cauliflower. And never before have we spent so much time trying to keep potatoes frost-free in the store, only to be met by that telltale smell on opening the door.

On a lighter note, as we come to the end of February and the days are getting longer, it is with heartened enthusiasm that we head into spring, with all tackle ready to start the first of the vegetable planting. We want your vegboxes to be full, interesting and varied throughout the year, so it’s important that we get our timings right. It’s always a balancing act: it would be nice to get some early planting in to make up for the crops lost in the winter, but on the other hand it could be safer to wait for the warmer weather. Last year I passed on the old farming wisdom that if it’s too cold to park your bare bottom on the soil then it is too cold for the seed. You’ll be glad to hear I have delegated this job to Bryan, the veg grower, who now spends several minutes a day with his waterproofs around his knees, checking for the optimum day.

We are still rushing around the farm, smartening it up for the grand opening for 2011 on 6th March. With the school holidays all over the place this year, we’ll be open to the general public throughout April. We’ll be hosting school visits and all sorts of seasonal events through the year – check www.stockleyfarm.co.uk for the latest information.

John Walton

observer ethical awards – please vote
After winning Best Ethical Business 2009 and Best Online Retailer 2010 in the Observer Ethical Awards, we’d love to make it a hat trick this year. If you like what we do, please vote for us in the Best Online Retailer category at www.global-research.net/oea by Friday 11th March. Thank you!