Organic Farming is good for Bees, as well as you and me!

I have been wondering how our bumblebees have faired during the wet weather (remember the wet weather?).  Living at ground level during a wet winter like the one we’ve just had can’t be much fun.  Thankfully our autumn sown broad beans, which are in flower now, are ‘covered’ with large bumblebees, literally of strokeable size; something I tried to demonstrate to our May to encourage a relaxed attitude to insects.  Broad beans are pollinated mainly by long-tongued bumblebees, a group that have been hard-hit by some agricultural practices. Research suggests that organic farming is good for pollinators as well as you and me.  In fact Defra has announced a public consultation on the National Pollinator Strategy.  There is a lot of Bee stuff to get involved with on the world wide web.

You will probably have noticed that our carrots have deteriorated in the last couple of weeks.  They have been affected by Black Root rot of carrot, caused by Thielaviopsis basicola, a very widespread fungus that causes the post harvest problems you will have seen.  We have decided not to use our remaining 500kg after this week, so we will have to resort to bought-in carrots until our new season crop is ready.  If you can live with the rotten bits in the carrots, come and get a free bag from the farm!  I should have kept them colder, at about 0-1C but this would have been expensive and too cold for some of the other occupants of our cold store.

We finally finished planting our spuds on Monday.  The soil worked to a fine tilth and the sprouted tubers went into ridges better than I have seen in many a year.  Who would have thought it a few weeks ago?

Our first farm walk passed off without incident i.e. without anyone disappearing into one of the deeply rutted tracks.  I think a good time was had by all and I learned that you are not so ‘cabbage averse’ as I thought you were (assuming a representative customer sample on the walk).  

Date Published: 
Thursday, 17 April, 2014