Riverford Wicked Leeks

the virtues of punctuality

This is a critical time of the year on the farm. Our planting plans are meticulously developed to give the crops the necessary growing time to hit our harvest dates for the veg boxes. We break down the weeks into planting windows for each crop and then map these windows onto areas within each of our fields. When wet weather forces us behind schedule we end up like a broken down train; until it is repaired and on its way, all the other trains are backed up behind it getting later and later.

One of the main challenges of growing for the box scheme is achieving a steady availability of crops to keep the boxes full and varied. The first way we can do this is by choosing varieties that vary in the length of time they need from planting to harvesting. This is commonly what we do with potatoes. The early potato varieties tend to bulk up very quickly, albeit giving a smaller yield, while the main crop varieties take longer to cultivate but provide greater volumes.

Another ploy is to have a succession of plantings throughout the year. However, if we have missed a few weeks of planting due to wet weather, it is tempting to take advantage of any fine periods, however short, and plant all of the backlogs in one go. It