‘I tend to try and do everything to suit the weather…’
Euan talks about the unusual varieties of fruit and vegetables that he grows on his farm. He sees the possibility of using further irrigation in the future but at the moment costs are an issue. Euan also has made tentative enquiries about utilising the local burn or well in the future but for the time being, Euan uses Enviro-mesh or sows according to the weather.
We just kind of form our own coping strategies every year as we try a new crop. We just find what works for it and then can improve on it the following year and the following year. And the last year was the first year that we grew beetroot. And it did really well. I did a wee trial out in an open bed, I did a wee trial with bio-poly and I’ve decided open bed worked the best. So we’re doing that this year. But six, seven years ago, we did 200 squashes as a wee trial. We just did them outside in an open bed and we found it didn’t do particularly well. So four years ago, was the first year we used bio-poly and it works really well and we started doing ten thousands squashes a year because it does really well in the bio-poly. It keeps the soil moist and warms the soil up as well. And I don’t have any kind of labor costs at the end of the year, removing any mulches because I can just plow, harrow it in, you know. Every time we grow a new crop, it’s just a wee trial. See what works and then, you know, improve on it.
I pretty much know what crop needs by looking at it, you know, without kind of having to go and find out, but it’s the establishment time – it’s getting a crop established. Then once it’s established, you can almost just leave it to it’s own devices. There’s quite a lot of sandy soil round about us. The guys with the sandy stuff, growing carrots…Last year, my brother worked on a farm down the road and they grow a lot of carrots and because it was quite dry when the carrots were going in; there was one field in particular where the establishment rate and germination rate was pretty poor and they ended up sowing barley over the top of the carrots just to stop the sand drying out too much and stop the sand blowing away. Carrot seed is quite expensive and that’s kind of what they’ve started doing is sowing barley through the carrot bed. Just to kind of help get the carrots established because the soil was so white and it had been so dry. But yeah they lost…I think their pack-out rates this year will probably be okay because in between the spaces, you’ve got slightly bigger carrots now. But big chunks of the field, hadn’t germinated properly and my brother was quite concerned that, it was something he’d done. He went along in September with his knife and was digging around the spaces, just to make sure the seed was still there and that it hadn’t been something he’d done in the sowing. But no, the seed was there, it just hadn’t germinated because it was so dry around the April time last year.