I have mixed feelings about butterflies and moths because of their potential for damage to our crops. I was very grateful for the low infestations of leek moth, which we saw in 2013 but at the same time, as organic growers, we work to preserve habitat for moth survival and tolerate some degree of crop damage. During 2012, the diversity and population density of butterflies and moths was devastated, because of the very wet weather and are yet to recover to near normal levels. Nevertheless it is conventional farming which is a major contributor to the loss of butterfly habitat and subsequent lowering of butterfly populations. You can rest in the knowledge that through supporting organic farming you are doing something positive for our environment and who among us has failed to marvel at the beauty of a tortoiseshell.
Inexorably we move into the clutches of the hungry gap with most of us oblivious to the ensuing famine that would grip us were it not for storage and imports from Europe and elsewhere. The vegboxes and our market this week are supplemented with courgettes from Spain, cucumber and peppers from Somerset glasshouses and onions from Holland. The rest of the veg. is our own from Stowey Rocks. There is a lot in the media these days about our ‘food security’ with regard to climate change. We are more used to thinking of this as an issue for developing countries but it is one that could become increasingly relevant to ourselves. Food is becoming a hot topic.
In spite of spending most of my time outside I am always surprised by the beauty of spring. This week, I think, has been exceptional and as the cherry blossom clings to its ephemeral life in the April breeze we have been planting up beetroot, salad onions and fennel. Next week we will plant tomatoes, aubergine, peppers, summer cabbage, spinach and chard and then will their speedy maturity to save us from too much leek and potato soup.