The temperature is up and down like a fiddler’s elbow. A couple of recent mornings when I have got up the thermometer has read 6 point something, yesterday it was 4.6, and on Tuesday it’s forecast to be 15 overnight – that’s warmer than the average daytime temperature for this time of year. Conditions are ideal for fungi right now, and there is evidence of them all over the place. I would like the confidence to gather some for personal use, but identification of all but the really obvious ones can be very difficult, and getting it wrong can have serious consequences. I follow professional forager John Wright (of River Cottage fame) on Twitter, and he sometimes posts photographs side by side, one is a delicious edible mushroom, the other, which looks virtually identical is potentially deadly poisonous. It would be great to go on a foraging walk with someone like him to broaden one’s knowledge, and he’s probably a fun guy. This week’s main photograph is of the Death Cap, looks nice enough doesn’t it? It’s apparently responsible for more deaths in Europe than any other mushroom….take care!

The software gremlins are at it again. This morning you may have received an email from me begging you for payment. The computer decided to do that, I didn’t even give it a hint that I was short of readies, it must just have picked up on all of my motoring expenses of the past couple of weeks – tyres, insurance, MoT, service. Ruddy artificial intelligence eh? Anyway, I have put a stop to it, so you shouldn’t be bothered by any more messages like that – however, if you haven’t paid…..

By the way, thank you for heeding my request last week to adhere to the order deadline, it is very much appreciated; there remains one serial offender.

I got quite a bit of field work done last week, and having cultivated some land I have sown some more over-wintering green manure seeds of Rye and Vetch, this will be incorporated in to the soil late spring to add organic matter and fertility. This week I will be sowing broad beans for an early crop next year. I will cover the bed with mesh to prevent the pheasants from digging up the seeds or hoiking out the newly emerged plants. Today I gathered in the rest of the winter squash and will let them cure in the greenhouse before storing them in the potting shed. it has been a pretty good year for them, so there should be good availability well in to the winter. Tomorrow my chum Alf is coming to help me finish the last of the apple picking; I will sort and keep some of the late varieties for selling as fresh fruit, the rest I will take to be pressed into juice.

My tomatoes are finished for this year. Given what a dull summer it generally was I am quite pleased with the yield, particularly because there was a whole row of 30 plants in the polytunnel that I didn’t pick. Why? Because they were quite unpleasant! I often try a different variety or two to see if I am missing out on anything special, but on this occasion I picked the wrong horse. The other new type I grew this summer was ‘Mountain Magic’ and is one that I will grow again. You live and learn. I have kept the Cherry tomatoes from the Isle of Wight in the shop, but they were in short supply last week so I won’t know until I speak to the grower tomorrow if there will be any available for this week’s orders.

Apart from the toms there aren’t many changes to what’s in the shop. There will be Florence fennel again, I will be lifting celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes and beetroot, there are parsnips, carrots, leeks, onions, a limited quantity of pot-luck peppers, butternut and ‘Festival’ squash. I will pick some green curly kale and there will be broccoli, red and savoy cabbages again. Apples will be russets, the Adam’s Pearmain need a couple more weeks of ripening before their lovely flavour will come through – it’s one of my favourites, I wish there were more trees. I’m going to make some sorrel pesto this week.

We’ve got 2 more weeks of British Summer Time before the ghastly long evenings are upon us, so in a fortnight from now the sun will set at 4.30! I don’t like it. Even the benefit of the extra hour of daylight in the morning doesn’t seem to last long. I wonder what the winter holds for us, we must be due a ‘proper’ one?

On that gloomy note I am going to bid you farewell. Keep up the prompt ordering, and remember to leave your box out for collection please – unless it’s really beaten up.

See you on the doorstep, or better still, at the farmers’ market on Saturday morning.

Phil

 

 

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