The Hungry Gap
The sun has been making a welcome appearance in the last week or so and the land at The Lint Mill is gradually stirring into life. However, it may surprise you to know that the next two months are actually some of the least productive when it comes to growing organic vegetables. Welcome to the ‘hungry gap’!
This is the time of year that requires extra patience, sow too early and you can loose everything – we have been known to have devastating seedling killing frosts in May at our altitude. Nonetheless, we have been busy during these sunny days as the soil is finally drying out, adding our well-rotted manure to the raised beds in the polytunnel and the kitchen garden. We’ve been weeding, hoeing and digging to prepare the ground for new plants.
We’ve already sown hundreds of individual seeds in seed trays, moving them carefully from the cottage kitchen to the polytunnel as soon the seedlings are strong enough and the tunnel has warmed up. By the end of the year we will have enjoyed (amongst other things) organic, home grown broccoli, beetroot, cabbage, cauliflower, broad beans, peas, sweetcorn, strawberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries, rhubarb, French beans, runner beans, radishes and salads, carrots, turnip, potatoes, onions, shallots, squash, cucumber, tomatoes and garlic
However, the months between January and May represent a time when productivity is at its lowest at The Lint Mill (and the rest of the UK for that matter). That’s why it is called the “hungry gap”. Caught between being too cold to grow crops and the dwindling supplies of potatoes and carrots, April is the ‘cruellest month’ as TS Eliot once wrote.
Naturally the average supermarket shopper won’t be away of the ‘hungry gap’, such is our dependence on flying all kinds of produce from all over the world so we can have strawberries in December! Here at The Lint Mill we like to offer food that is genuinely seasonal, truly organic and we like to keep our ‘air miles’ non-existent if possible!
So, it’s ‘more imaginative things to do with kale’ for the next few weeks!
But May is just around the corner and with Colin’s careful successional sowing we can look forward to a bountiful season ahead.