Winter Wheat and Market Gardening
In the fields to the north, wheat is currently being grown on rotation. This variety of winter wheat, Skyfall, is a milling wheat and will be used for bread making. It is supplied to Heygates Mills to be milled into flour. This variety has come top in Agrii’s sustainability ratings, judging varieties on factors such as disease resistance, straw strength and consistency. This is an important factor to ensure the right variety is picked for the local conditions.
This fields will be drilled between the end of September and mid-October. The image on the left shows how the farmer drills the soil to create a furrow, and seeds are then dropped in from the hopper on the trailer. The wheat crop is ready to harvest by July-August, by this time it is golden colour and is no longer growing.
These fields have long been associated with market gardening, with a wide variety of produce grown: from root vegetables and salad crops to asparagus and rhubarb.
In the 1920s these fields were sold off to individual market gardeners, but as these retired or died, the Cope family consolidated them into larger fields. Adding water mains to irrigate the area allowed a focus on lettuce production, predominantly Cos with some Little Gem. The lettuces were supplied to Sainsbury’s via Bedfordshire Growers.
Interested to find out more about the rich history of market gardening in this area? Why not read our blog post here. You can also discover more about the different crops planted by market gardeners at Jordan’s Mill.
Remember, when enjoying the outdoors, please adhere to The Countryside Code.
Archive photos courtesy of Parrish Farms and the Potton History Society