Community Farm field lab - second visit

The Community Farm - 28 August 2013

By 28 August all carrots had been lifted and sold as bunches.

Carrots drilled 8 April three row beds middle row containing trial variety

Position 2 July

Variety Emergence % Foliage Quality Control Comparison in Row
Vita Longa 80% Vigorous +2 (Yaya)
Chant. Royal 80% Light Green +1 (Yaya)
Early Market 90% Light Green 0 (Yaya)
St Valery 90% Pale Green 0 (Yaya)
A. Maxi 2  90% Dark Green 0 (Purple Haze)

Position 28 August

Variety Aug 22 Yield sold per metre Grade outs
Vita Longa 8/18cm 0.72kg 35%
Chant. Royal 6/14cm 1.00kg 8%
Early Market 8/12cm 1.90kg 11%
St Valery 9/19cm 2.70kg 14%
A. Maxi 2 9/19cm 0.76kg 57%
Yaya F1 (control) 12/18cm 3.10kg 12%


 Variety  Earliness  Uniformity  Taste (All 9 high)
 Vita Longa  7  4  6 /Pleasant bitter lavender
 Chant. Royal  8  8  4 /Bland supermarket carrot
 Early Market  8  8  7 /Crunchy sweet earthiness
 St Valery  4  4  3 /Bitter strong aftertaste
 A. Maxi 2  5  3  6 /Firm woody earthiness
 Yaya F1 (control)  7  7  8 /Sweet soft crunch

The Parsnip trial, sown 9 April, was overrun with weeds due to delays in field operations caused by the early cold weather and then the sudden change to warm dry conditions, leading to difficult choices having to be made about priority jobs. The varieties planted were Student and Imperial Crown. Control varieties are Tender & True and Pixie. No comparisons were possible and it was uncertain whether the crops could be rescued.

By 28 August the only useable information from the trial is that Pixie, Student and Imperial Crown showed a useful survival characteristic by pushing up through the weeds to show part rows of crop possibly worth harvesting.

Brussels Sprouts position 2 July

Variety Height Uniformity Plants Uniformity Rows (All 9 high)
Darkmar 21 10" 6 6
Evesham Special 12" 8 8
Sander 9" 7.5 6.5
Red Bull 10" 6 7
Roodnerf 8" 6.5 7
Doric F1 (control) 8" 8.5 8.5
Nautic F1(control) 8" 8 8

Both control F1s showed very good all round uniformity while Evesham Special stood out for height and uniformity.

Position 28 August

Variety Height   Uniformity Plants Uniformity Rows (All 9 high)
Darkmar 21 20" 6 5
Evesham Special 20" 7 7
Sanda 30" 8 8
Red Bull 28" 7 7
Roodnerf 18" 5 5
Doric F1 (control) 20" 7 8
Nautic F1 (control) 24" 7 7

Most varieties showed some small loses since 2 July probably due to drought (sandy silt loam) and early weed competition. Sanda and Red Bull showed good growth while Evesham Special still looked all round uniform. Both F1s remained quite uniform. The buttons were just beginning to show but too early for any early yield assessment.

The crop has been under fleece and had one good hand weeding. Clouds of cabbage white butterflies were congregating around the edges of the fleece with only the very few getting in where the fleece had been lifted up by the growing plants.

The Community Farm is set in the Chew Valley between Bristol and Bath. The farm grows organic vegetables on 22 acres of land. It runs a vegetable box delivery service and wholesale business, but it's also a little bit different - the farm is owned by its members who officially took over the farming, box scheme and wholesale business as a not-for-profit organisation in April 2011.

The seed variety field lab is looking into Open Pollinated (OP) seed varieties available to non-organic growers and trialling them in organic systems with a view to either creating a demand for them organically or saving them on farm for use in subsequent years. The field lab is part of the Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme which is aiming to improve productivity, quality and environmental performance in organic and low-input agriculture.

Community Farm veg lab Br Sprouts 005.jpgCommunity Farm veg lab Br Sprouts 001.jpgCommunity Farm veg lab Br Sprouts 002.jpgCommunity Farm veg lab Br Sprouts 003.jpgCommunity Farm veg lab Br Sprouts 004.jpgCommunity Farm veg lab Br Sprouts 006.jpg

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Supported by...

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Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation Open Pollinated Seeds

Moles Seeds The Real Seed Catalogue