2019 in Vegetables…

Vegetables! Glorious vegetables. Growing vegetables is our main focus as an organisation, and it is the activity that everything else at Sutton Community Farm hinges on. In 2019 we significantly upscaled our indoor growing area with the construction of a new triple-span polytunnel, which has provided us with increased opportunity to grow crops that wouldn’t fare as well out in the fields. In the summer our indoor space is brimming with tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and cucumbers, and in the winter we grow lots of leafy greens such as spinach, pak choi, winter salads and chard, alongside shallots, fennel, kale and some herbs.
The upscale in indoor space was an exciting development, but challenges posed by uncertain wholesale demand, pests such as aphids, slugs and red spider mite, and diseases such as cucumber mosaic virus and powdery mildew mean that 2019’s growing season has definitely presented us with an array of challenges, particularly given as we follow organic principles. Each growing season invariably provides opportunities for learning and improvement – and we are spending part of the winter already planning for the growing season of the year ahead.
Last winter we decided to increase the amount of land on the farm being sown with green manures. We have a six year crop rotation, and now two of these years are green manure years. Green manures are plants that actively build soil fertility, while allowing the land to rest. Green manure meadows also are hugely beneficial for insect pollinators (not to mention, all their flowers and diversity of plants make it look so pretty!). Green manures are a key component of organic growing, so we took the decision to ensure better long-term viability of the farm’s soil to ensure years of healthy production.
We love growing lots of different varieties of veg, and a benefit of having a direct relationship with our customers means we can cultivate an array of vegetables. And they sure taste yummy! For anyone who bought our vegetables or volunteered with us at the farm, thanks for all the support throughout the year!