We thought you might be interested (amazed even) to see just how quickly the quinoa grows at this time of year. We've stitched together two photos taken from the same viewpoint a fortnight apart - the difference is impressive.
William is making regular checks on the organic quinoa being grown for Hodmedod on the sandy soil of south east Suffolk. He's looking out for any signs of disease or nutrient deficiency and, in particular, making sure the crop is out-competing the weeds. Quinoa seedlings are not very weed competitive which means the crop can need a lot of hoeing; but their small size and similarity to common agricultural weed seedlings make this a challenging task.
So far a good weed-free seedbed and early hoeing seem to have done the trick. The quinoa has established well and is looking very healthy with no signs of mildew (our big fear) and lots of rich green growth indicating the soil is providing the plants with all the nutrients they need.
There's still a while to go between now and harvest, but things are looking very promising for our first organic quinoa harvest this autumn.
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A few years ago we were looking for a sweetner for some granola recipes, something UK produced and minimally processed. When our apple syrup order from Liberty Fields arrived we knew we were onto something special - we quickly added them to our short list of brilliant Guest Producers
We've launched ten pulses and grains from British farms as part of Holland & Barrett's transformation of their food range, available in their stores across the UK. It's a fantastic opportunity to make British-grown fava beans, carlin peas and quinoa, along with other pulses and cereals, available more widely and to support more diverse farming.
Down a warren of country lanes, not far from the Tamar Valley in Cornwall, is Julie Bailey's orchard Lower Trelabe, where she grows historic local varieties of apple and makes her delicious Apple Natural apple shreds, traditional fruit leathers that contain only the natural plant sugars.