The north west of England is in the middle of inexplicable flash floods. Only two weeks ago we harvested in sandals, cooling off in the river after a long hot day. Now we are back in our wellies.
The beds prepared for the next crop pool up and are difficult to drain. The beds filled with crops take the water into their root systems helping drain the soil and keep the land relatively dry, courgettes and squash seem to enjoy this the most. This is interesting to note in a small area when thinking of the effects deforestation has on water levels.
Biodiversity kicks in as the soggy habitat begins to suit different life. Rodents have fled the scene and Spiders find their way indoors, sadly we can see many worms drowned on the surface of the beds but the baby frogs, spawned from the river have taken up residence and will be a welcome nemesis to the slugs that enjoy the wet so much. There is always good and bad from any condition on the farm.
It is hard to get to grips with this weather when we remember that this time last year we had to visit the farm three times a day just to water and keep moisture in the soil. So many crops on so many farms were ruined last year because of the intense heat and dry climate. The capricious nature of the seasons is unfathomable. We count ourselves lucky that we only run a small plot and that we do not rely solely on this land to make a living.
Ironically this is the ‘second spring’. A time when we regroup and start to plan the autumn/ winter crop. So we have taken shelter in the polly tunnel and sew for the season ahead. Plenty of kale, turnips, red kohl Rabi, winter beetroots, chard and chicories including a great variety we picked up in Italy called Rosso de Verona. We have also sowed an experimental called sessantina, known as rapini in the south of Italy and a much loved brassica in Spain and Portugal. It flowers with small, tender broccoli florets and sweet leaves.
Who knows what next week will bring. These days we carry footwear for all occasions.