Mind the gap
Its been an eventful week on the farm with lots of sowing and planting and bed preparation. Its also a time when harvestable crops are in short supply. This period is known as the hungry gap and there won't be much to harvest from the farm in the next few weeks. We've had some lovely harvests from the greens, brassicas and salads that Jack planted in the autumn. But most of the crops we've planted this spring are not ready yet. While we wait for our produce to bulk out we will be ordering from other local organic suppliers. Its worth remembering that when supermarkets continue to sell every kind of vegetable and fruit right through the winter there is a huge environmental cost to that. A lot of that produce is shipped huge distances and grown with artificial heat which requires a lot of energy.
The days and nights are getting much warmer now and the days are longer which means all our crops are growing faster. It requires a lot of work to keep on top of the weeding, watering and harvesting and its a fun challenge making sure we've sown enough crops to fill any gaps left by crops that have been harvested out.
New crops going in the ground in the last week include red russian kale, cabbages, chard, beetroot, mixed salad and rocket. We've had a bit of pest damage which could be due to birds, rabbits or deer. We've covered our brassicas with covers to try and protect them. There do seem to still be some rabbits inside the rabbit fence though we haven't seen them on the part of the field where we've got crops. But who knows what they get up to at night. If there are deer getting in there's not a lot we can do to keep them out unless we put up a very high fence. The best defence will be to cover our crops with netting.
Its an exciting time of year watching all the seeds crack open and germinate. There is so much growth potential and the hope for all that delicious food to come. I've recently been to the Extinction Rebellion camp at Marble Arch in London. There was a great atmosphere and lots of enthusiasm for where the rebellion/protest/movement will go next. There seems to be a huge appetite for change and a lot of passion for healing the damaged biosphere of planet earth. Its a great feeling to be part of that solution, knowing that if we can use regenerative practices on our farm we will be helping to cut carbon emissions and even absorb more carbon from the atmosphere as well as creating biodiverse habitats while also providing meaningful and sustainable employment for local people.
With our hands in the soil and our hearts full it feels like Norwich Farmshare can be a powerful force for positive change.