out with the old & return of the tree frog

As days lengthen and temperatures rise, our purple sprouting broccoli, leeks and cauliflower are rushing to seed and bringing the old season to an end. Our crop of spring greens, planted on a north facing hill, will hang on for a week or so before they too divert their energy from leaf growth to reproduction. The newly planted cabbage, lettuce, pak choi and beans are doing well under their fleeces, but it will be at least two weeks before we have anything fit to pick and more like two months before we have a good range of veg from our own fields once more. In contrast to these annual plants, perennials have the benefit of a large existing root system to give them a head start. This always makes them the earliest crops to reach maturity and we will pick the first UK asparagus and outdoor rhubarb this week. Pepe, our family farmer from Granada, has produced some wonderful asparagus as always, but it will be good to have our own.

Meanwhile we’ll try to keep your boxes full and interesting with some weird stuff of our own; dandelions, wild garlic and cardoons have played their part this year but I’d love to crack growing sorrel and harvesting it before the snails.

As we wait for more conventional crops at home we are now picking lettuce and spinach in earnest from our farm in the French Vendée. We often find leverets (baby hares) sleeping among the lettuce but they’ve not made it onto the lorry yet. Last week however we had a surprise visitor arrive with the French lettuce for the second year running, in the shape of a European tree frog. He’s been named Ribbitford by our Facebook page fans and is now hopping around the office while a more appropriate home is sought, possibly with our local zoo.

Guy Watson