March Newsletter 2010

Welcome to what has, so far, been a pretty chilly March. The tunnels are full to overflowing now but the plants in the unheated tunnels are struggling to put on much growth, the exception being the salad herbs, such as mizuna, which are growing nicely. We have had a bit of a problem with shrews over the winter and this spring.

Shrew Nibbled Chervil During December they decimated the Gotu Kola digging down to get at the roots once they had eaten the leaves. As there weren’t many trays we put them on some of the benches which seemed to work.

In February they made light work of the newly planted lollo rossa lettuce, chervil and lambs lettuce plus the last year’s fennels that were just beginning to sprout.

Quite a few of the salad herbs were under fleece at the time just to try and acclimatize them between the warm tunnels they had come from and the freezing night time temperatures. Removing the fleece has helped as these herbs are growing quite fast now. Maybe the longer daylight hours have helped to provide a bit more food in the surrounding areas too.

I guess the cold winter and delayed spring has meant small mammals are hungry and struggling to find enough to eat. I’m sure there are one or two about as Socks, the dog, seems to have her nose glued to the chervil whenever she can and, if left unsupervised, will tip the odd tray over in her quest to find the source of the smell.

Peter

Tony - Potting

This season we have lost Zsuzsa – our nursery supervisor - as she is due to have her second baby at the beginning of May. Very inconvenient of her! She has found a replacement for us, however - another Hungarian, Peter, with whom she was at college. He is getting to grips with everything and shivering alongside us in the work tunnel some of the time, though when taking cuttings he is ensconced in one of the heated tunnels.

A lot of our stock plants are in these tunnels and producing lots of soft shoots which we use to propagate more plants. As the weather becomes warmer they will gradually be moved either outside or into an unheated tunnel. A lot of our plants are produced in this way, alongside an equal number of seed sown herbs and some root cuttings.

Snowdrops There isn’t much growing outside, though I have seen a bit of sorrel pushing its way up in the garden and a lot of the crow garlic on the roadside verges that I spoke about last spring.

Excitingly, our wild garlic is sprouting now, we watered it sparingly this year after the bulbs we planted in autumn 08 rotted away during the winter. Once they are a little bigger they will be on sale via the website.

Wormwood & Mint Cuttings

Think that all for this month. Let’s hope the next one will be bathed in some sunshine. Have a good Easter – it is only three and a half weeks away

Lorraine