Keep cheering farmers

I spent the weekend planting up for the big summer growing season at the allotment*. Beetroot, courgettes, beans, cucumbers, and a variety of pumpkins and squashes. I have a good feeling about Barbara butternut squashes, and have told my friend she can’t let me down this year. They are doing well so far. I’ve got new mini greenhouses and all the seedlings are massive when I put them out now.

So, we have been doing this for about 17 years. What we have learned is that no matter what you put out, snails and slugs will eat what they want, regardless of any stories you hear about them not eating onions or (insert your vegetable/flower here). We’ve observed that there are microclimates even in the plot we have (about 10 metres long and 4 metres wide), where the courgette plants are devoured, while the snails and slugs ignore the courgettes on the other side of a patch. I am not mentioning the birds that love brassicas, or the foxes who dig things up for whatever reason. I cannot imagine what commercial farmers have to put up with.

At the very least, I have limited paperwork to fill out in order to plant and grow my produce, unlike those who do it for a living. Although interestingly, the allotment has an environmental waste license so that we may continue to receive deliveries of royal horse manure and the like.

However, as we see from, the US Innovation Center’s Sustainability awards last week, dairy farmers continue thinking about such things and doing something about it, despite being blamed for all manner of global warming. The anti-livestock brigade should think about how farmers are the first to see climate change, and the first to be affected by it. Going after the places that can be carbon sinks as well as carbon emitters seems to be an exercise in foolishness, in my humble opinion. Farmers hold the key to this planet’s future, in a way that other industries do not. They feed us.

* Ed. Note: Allotments are public garden plots that are rented from the local councils. They are very handy for growing things that you can’t or won’t grow in your own back garden, like space-needy squashes and pumpkins. Unsurprisingly, the waiting list for these is very long.

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