Low Stanger seed trial update
Low Stanger Farm - 28 August 2013
Reasonable growing conditions have continued through August, although a couple of cool, wet and windy weeks did hold back growth of marketable crops, while creating the usual late season rash of weed seed germination!
The second tomato trial variety to crop was Jen's Tangerine, around August 11th. Crop appears to be light, and this also applies to Galina. Flavour of both is OK, but not spectacular. None of the tomato varieties have significantly outperformed old favourites like Matina, although rhe flavour of Bloody Butcher is good.
The carrots are recovering slowly from trampling and browsing by wandering heifers, and St Valery is the best of the trial varieties in terms of germination, vigour and days to marketable size. We have grown this in our pre-certified days, and found it a good early maincrop for our conditions. Flavour is also good.
Brussels are progressing slowly, held back a little by drer conditions in mid July, and a current heavy caterpiller infestation. Up to now, neither of the trial varieties seem to be perfoming better than the F1 types we usually grow - but harvest is still around six weeks away.
Low Stanger is a small family farm on the western edge of the Lake District. The farm has a small market garden of around two acres on which they grow vegetables and fruit for consumption locally, chiefly in the nearby town of Cockermouth. The climate is challenging, with persistent damp conditions and frequent storms, as well as low light levels and a short season!
The seed variety field lab is looking into Open Pollinated (OP) seed varieties available to non-organic growers and trialling them in organic systems with a view to either creating a demand for them organically or saving them on farm for use in subsequent years. The field lab is part of the Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme which is aiming to improve productivity, quality and environmental performance in organic and low-input agriculture.