New varieties (and pests!) at Huntstile
This update is a bit of a brief one – but that may be a relief to those of you who, like me, are in the midst of a very busy time.
Despite my previous worries about slugs, they haven’t been half as much of a problem as I expected this year. What has, however, are the rabbits! Unfortunately they’ve managed to break in Peter Rabbit-style and gobble up all the celeriac. It’s too late now to get any more in, but rest assured we have an array of other vegetables and leafy varieties to look at.
On schedule, the brassicas, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, leeks, beetroot, carrots and endives have all been put in and are doing well. You’ll be able to find these on the outside plots on the day. Inside the polytunnel we have peppers, tomatoes, aubergines and cucumbers – also growing healthily. As it’s been hot and mostly dry these varieties are growing without much hindrance, and the initial problem of baked-dry soil is no longer a major issue. Three varieties I'm particularly looking forward to showcasing are:
- The Frostex lettuce. A delightfully deep red, feathery and hardy lettuce from the Salanova crispy type.
- This beautiful round aubergine is the Sabelle.
- The Beauty Sun cucumber is part of the blue leaf group and is particularly resilient against red spider mite.
One tricky problem, as you will know, is the weeds. This year both redshank and fat hen are being rather pesky – and it’s a struggle to hold them back. It’s more than likely that this is due to the weather as the conditions have been perfect for their growth. A benefit of having them, however, is that there are a lot of bees pollinating around the plots. Despite the weeds, it’s great to see nature flourishing around the site.
As always in horticulture and farming – the art is in the balance. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to chat to you all about the challenges that this year has thrown up – and how to innovate our way into successively fruitful years!
Keep an eye out for my final update before the day.