Monday, August 12, 2013

"We're doing lots...but not getting much done" (!)

It's still warm, but after all that lovely moisture, everything is growing at an impressive rate. First squash have been on the stall, as have all three varieties of beetroot (the latest being the beautiful Chioggia, see below)
Elsewhere, there is a cucumber fest on the cards (loads of them!) and the heritage tomatoes are looking and tasting absolutely fabulous (see below)

In the flower department, Penny has been saving the seeds from the sweet peas in preparation for next year, while the ground has also been prepared for the autumn sown larkspur.
In fact, in general, we are getting the place nice and shipshape, including seedbed preparation for the rainbow chard which will soon be in just in time to give us a crop at the end of the year and then regrow for the spring.
Finally, we were proud to provide the flowers for two North Devon weddings last weekend...while on the Saturday morning market stall in South Molton, we are now selling every stem!
Here's a taster of the beautifully white larkspur, ammi majus and achillea.
Thank you all so much for your continued support. After the farming disaster that was last year, it's a positive time for us, but plenty of work still to do.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The sun is shining...the squashes are getting fat

Garlic harvest is done. Really done! Here's a grumpy looking Ant, Ben and Keith after a gruelling afternoon in the fields:

And here's what it looks like after it's all been strung up to dry in the barn, that's around 13000 bulbs:

Much of this will be lovingly plaited into fives, sevens and even twelves by Penny, making a great long-lasting item to hang up in the kitchen. Penny also takes care of transforming all those flowers from the fields into beautiful bouquets for the market and various shops across North Devon, as well as catering to weddings and to other special events. A couple of months ago, Devon Life featured her's and Ant's work with British flowers in a lovely three-page spread. If you like, please do have a look at the following link - Flower Miles

Up in the oversized vegetable garden, there is an abundance of courgettes, while several varieties of squash are threatening to be ready for consumption in the near future (including Sunset, Onion, Crown Prince, Rolet, Jack O' Lantern and Butternut).

Finally, our produce is now available on a beautiful display stand outside the wonderful John's Deli at Instow. Enjoy! George.

Monday, July 29, 2013

More flowers anyone?

Another successful day at market, where the Barba di Frate flew off the metaphorical shelves and the flowers continued to prove popular - people seem more and more interested by our fresh, local and polytunnel-free/spray-free approach.

The majority of the garlic is now up, bunched and hanging to dry in the barn - multiple varieties available this year including some French (Peyrasse), some Spanish (Vallelado) and even a bit of Greek (Limni).

When a moment is free, we attack the weeds by hand, giving the carrots, onions, brassicas etc. the chance to breathe and grow.

Elsewhere, a positive first meeting with Fees Flowers who sell gorgeous British blooms every Friday at Exeter's main train station, St Davids - our produce could be on her stall soon. Also, a new partnership is blossoming with the deli 'Johns of Instow & Appledore' (look out for our van as we pass by...)

The days fly by...where does the time go!?

George (P.S. back hurts, knees hurt, hands hurt...)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summertime at Radley Cross

My nephew has joined us for July/August! Over the next few weeks, he'll be giving his impressions of the organised chaos at Radley Cross Market Garden. Ant.

Arriving at Radley Cross just a week ago, I had told various people that my uncle 'grew garlic and a few flowers'. Transpires that, across his 5 acres, he grows substantially more than that (as well as an impressive array of weeds - "no pesticides or fungicides here" he tells me). We head up to the top field for an hour or two of picking most mornings - beautiful courgette follows beautiful courgette (green and yellow, see image below), the beetroot (red and golden) grows bigger and better, the Swiss chard becomes more popular by the day...and then there's the garlic! Two rows (roughly 2500 bulbs) harvested yesterday and strung up to dry today - meanwhile, those bulbs that have almost dried are ready to sell and will last you until early next year.

Down below the farmhouse (see image below) the larkspur and cornflowers, having thrived in the open air and wowed the public across North Devon, are sadly coming to an end. The clarkia and statice however have come to life and make you a beautiful bouquet, while the first sunflowers have started to show their faces. The weather has been hot and dry, so the fields had a welcome drink last night as the rain briefly returned.

We tour various local and farm shops selling our wares, looking forward particularly to the market in South Molton every Saturday morning where you can find us outside opposite the entrance to the market, braving the elements and selling  the freshest vegetables and flowers, all hand-picked just hours earlier.
Current hot favourite : Barba di Frate or Monksbeard, a unique Italian vegetable, very rare in the UK but grown from seed in the fields at Radley Cross. A mild-flavoured slightly bitter green, it is particularly good with seafood or simply braised with olive oil and garlic and served as a side dish. See you soon! George.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Potato planting 2013
In go Charlotte, Pink Fir Apple and Marfona  into a lovely seed bed. These are following last years garlic and onion crop which also had mustard growing over winter and tons of manure before planting. A VERY cold afternoon on the planter !! but so lovely and dry.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Thursday, March 7, 2013

February 2013

We were fortunate enough to spend 3 weeks back packing round Sri Lanka in late January and early February so here`s some pictures to wet your appetite !

It was abit of a shock to come back to temperatures of zero with a wind chill of -4c and have to put up 2 polytunnels. One for sweet pea production and one  mainly as a seeding tunnel which can also be used for drying garlic and onions and hopefully some winter salad crops too.

Seeding of Stocks, Achillea, Cornflower, Agastachi,Nigella and Scabious are  ongoing  and the winter sown sweet peas are are looking well in the polytunnel. The Larspur sown directly into the field at the beginning of September has only germinated in the bottom third of the field, for reasons that I don`t understand ! so we will now be sowing more into modules and planting out later. The Pinks are weeded, finally!! we struggled all last year to keep on top of them and have now put mypex round them which should help enormously in the future.

Vegetable seeding of Baron red onions ( into modules), celeriac, cabbage (stonehead), tomato and pimento are all complete. Broad beans will be sown directly into the ground as soon as soil temp increases a little more.

Muck has been spread on the field ready for potato planting and chisel ploughed in. Potatoes will be planted as soon as the soil warms up a little and assuming it stays dry.

The garlic is looking good and we went through it with the inter row weeder and gave it its first dose of liquid seaweed feed. This will be applied every 10-14 days from now on through till mid June..

The eschalote grise are up and away but as yet no sign of the crosnes. Both these crops are experimental so we will be very interested to see what the market thinks of them.

It feels so good to have a period of dry weather and bright days after last year. Its only been for 3 weeks but it feels as though we have already had a longer  period of dry than in the whole of last year!

We are still selling Pink Fir Apple potatoes to the farm shops which remain in good order and maintain their new potato flavour even at this time of year. All the garlic is now sold as are the red onions ( or on the bonfire !!) and Penny is delighted not to be hot smoking garlic for a few months.

We are now part of the twitterati so do please follow us      @radleyxgarden

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Vegetable Growing List 2013                                                                Availability

Artichoke ( Jerusalem) Pink                                                                    late sept onwards
Beetroot ( Choggia, Pablo, Golden)                                                        late may to october
Borecole ( Redbor, Winterbor)                                                                sept to dec                                                           
Broad Bean ( Sutton, Witkiem Manita )                                                 may to august
Brocoli ( Red Spear, White Eye)                                                             nov /dec
Brussel Sprout ( Helemus, Igor)                                                              nov /dec
Dwarf French Bean ( Safari, Belotto Supremo, Hildora)                        july/ august
Basil ( Crimson King)                                                                               july onwards
Cabbage ( Serve, Stonehead, Ruby King)                                              july to december
Calabrese ( Volta, Penta)                                                                        july to december
Carrot ( Chantenay, Resistafly)                                                              june to october
Cauliflower ( Graffiti, Trevi, Navona)                                                     sept/october
Courgette ( Bambino, Siesta)                                                                   july/august
Coriander ( Calypso)                                                                                 july onwards
Chicory ( Puntarelle of Brindisi)                                                               july to november
Celery ( Solid White)                                                                                 october/november
Hamburg Parsley Root Berliner                                                               july to november
Cucumber ( Burpless Tasty Green)                                                         august
Fennel ( Zephyr Fino)                                                                               july/august
Garlic ( Vallelado, Sabadrome,Chesnok,Lautrec)                                 june to december
Leeks ( Alcazar, Mammoth 2 Hannibal)                                                 october to december
Lettuce ( Leny, Mohican)                                                                        june to august
Onion ( Red Baron)                                                                                  august onwards
Parsley ( Italian Giant)                                                                             july onwards
Potato ( Charlotte, Pink Fir, Marfona)                                                    july onwards
Parsnip ( Gladiator)                                                                                  october onwards
Radish ( Pink Beauty)                                                                              may to september
Raperonozolo Rampion                                                                           august to october
Agretti Roscano                                                                                       june to august
Rocket ( Discovery, Wild)                                                                      may onwards
Salsify ( Scorzanera Black)                                                                     september
Spinach  ( F1 Reddy )                                                                              june to september
Sweetcorn ( Headstart, Incredible)                                                        august to september
Squash ( Rolet, Crown Prince, Butternut, Sunset, Onion)                    late sept onwards
Tomato ( Nepal, Black Cherry, Zapotech, Shirley`s Pixie, Gardeners Delight, Cuostralee)
                                                                                                                   july to sept
Mangetout                                                                                                july to september
Runner Bean ( Scarlet Emperor)                                                            july to september
Rosemary                                                                                                 year round                                                                                       
Thyme                                                                                                       year round
Celeriac( Giant Prague)                                                                           sept onwards
Oriental Mixed Leaf Salad                                                                      year round

 Flower Growing List 2013
                                                      Flowers mainly available june to september Ammi Majus ( Graceland )
Achillea ( Ptarmica Pearl, Summer Pastels, Cassis)
Celosia ( Flamingo Feather )
Calendula ( Balls improved orange )
Cornflower ( Black Ball)
Clarkia ( Crown Double Mixed )
Agastachi ( Liquorice Blue )
Blupeurum ( Graffiti )
Didiscus ( Madonna)
Eryngium ( Planum ) 
Knautia ( Melton Pastels)
Larkspur ( mixed colours )
Nigella ( Hispanica, African Bride, Orientalis Transformer, Moody Blues)
Scabious (Fama Caucasia , Black Night, Ace of Spades)
Pinks ( Devon Scented)
Sweet Peas
Sidalcea ( Party Girl)
Rudbekia ( Green Wizard, Cherry Brandy )
Cosmos ( Psyche white)
Cirsium ( Pink, Rose Beauty)
Orlaya ( Grandiflora)
Statice ( mixed colours)
Sunflower ( Sunrich Orange)
Stocks ( Gold Cut Mixed )
Phytostegia( Crown of Snow)
Sweet William ( Hollandia Mixed)
Zinnia ( Benarys Giant, Queen Lime, Purple Prince)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Penny`s flower wall chart 2013

Penny`s Wall Chart ...   Flowers
What do you when you`re holed up in the snow ? Planning for the year ahead. Look at this wonderful wall chart with all the different varieties of flowers to be grown along with cultural details. Makes it so much easier to see than something on your computer !