spring: bolts, hail, and stress

Snow can be seen up the valley on Dartmoor and planting has come to a halt for a few days while we wait for the recent blast of winter to pass. Plants, used to being huddled together in a warm greenhouse, can wilt and collapse in a matter of minutes if planted out in isolation and blasted by the northerly winds. Even if they survive, their future growth can be stunted and the stress often results in runtish plants with a predilection to run to seed prematurely before producing a full crop.

The cooler weather has been very welcome in restraining our over wintered crops; encouraged by lengthening days rather than stress, the maturing leeks, kale and greens are now diverting their energy from producing leaves to growing flowers and seeds with increasing vigour. Some of the greens are running to seed a month ahead of expectation and the leeks two weeks ahead. The developing flower is borne upwards on a rapidly elongating stalk or