smooth harvests, discontented farmers + pumpkin day

A run of warm, dry, sunshine is lifting our spirits, bringing on the autumn crops and helping us harvest in perfect conditions; I’m almost a happy farmer. We’ve even had a last flush of sweetcorn from crops that we thought would never make it and had written off. There is a nagging worry that it is so glorious that the more imprudent veg out there might go for a last rush of sappy soft growth, the sort that suffers when the first frost arrives. Ideally we would like a slow and steady drop in temperature to acclimatise our crops for the challenges ahead. It’s hard to please a farmer.
 
Elsewhere, the last of the potatoes have been harvested and are in the barn. We will blow ambient air through them for two weeks to help the tubers repair any harvest damage and set good skins, then slowly put them to sleep by dropping the temperature by half a degree a day down to 3.5˚C, which will keep the more drowsy varieties like Valor sprout-free through to May. Carrots will be next. Under ideal storage (0.5˚C and 86% humidity) they will keep until April, provided they are disease-free at harvest and well managed in store.

The late sunshine is ideal for hardening the skins and bringing out the sweetness of our squash, but they must be under cover before the first frost, so they too will be coming in this week. They like it warm (at least 14˚C) and dry, so even the best barn is never as good as a kitchen shelf. They look great and the harder skinned Crown Prince will keep through to the spring, so if you area squash lover, try the 7kg mixed box for a bargain £7.95.
Guy Watson

pumpkin day, saturday 29th october, 11am-4pm, free entry
Join us here on the farm for our big autumn celebration. Carve your own pumpkin, have a go at apple skittles, enjoy some tasty organic food and drink, and take a peek at our Christmas range, all in a family-friendly atmosphere. There will be lots of children’s activities, cookery demos and farm tours, entry is free, all are welcome and there’s no need to book. See our website for more details.