Wednesday, June 13, 2018

New season produce

After another quite difficult "hungry gap" we are starting to see fresh new season produce come to fruition - black Tuscan and red Russian kale from the permanent raised beds outside, broad beans from the same (we picked 10kg today), rhubarb from our perennial outdoor patch, salad leaves from our two sheltered beds, and from the polytunnels we are picking tomatoes, mange-tout, climbing French beans, basil and cucumbers. Always a lovely time of year (if you can ignore the weeding....).
Broad bean plants in flower.

Cabalonero in our new permanent raised beds.

Climbing French beans and cucumber vines in the Sausage.

Picking cucumbers.

The first few sungold tomatoes ripening.
John picking basil in Valentine.

Veg boxes June 8th

£6 veg box with a dozen eggs (£3.20 extra) - mixed salad leaves, rhubarb, a cucumber, mange-tout, mixed herbs, and cabalonero (black Tuscan kale).
The £10 veg box contained additional spring greens, courgettes, and mibuna greens.

Planting runner beans

We didn't do very well with runner beans last year, due to high winds, rabbits, and bad planning/timing. So we're determined to succeed this year. We've moved them back to where they were in 2016, which they much preferred as it's more sheltered and fertile, and we've constructed a permanent heavy-duty mesh for them using thick posts and wire stock fencing. They are already flowering, so fingers crossed (and the second batch almost ready to go in).
Runner bean plants outside to harden off.

Planting along our new permanent mesh.

Runner beans and salad leaves growing side by side.

New chicken flock

Every spring we buy a new flock of 120 point-of-lay Colombian Blacktail laying hens from Blakes' Poultry Farm near Launceston (a four-hour round-trip on the A30), to refresh our laying flock. This year we managed to re-home all our three-year-old birds again, to give us an empty shed for the fluffy newbies. This brings our flock number up to around 310. The new girls are just starting to lay their first few small eggs, which are for sale in the farm shop at only £1 per half dozen - once the eggs are big enough they will go in with our standard eggs at £1.60 per half dozen. We will now soon hopefully be able to meet demand in the busy months.
New chickens just released into their new home.
For the first 2 days we don't let the chickens out of their new shed, so that they become hefted and know where home is. They are now out and about and enjoying their views of the Penwith coastline. We also have to teach them how to perch (as they have been raised in a big open barn, with no mums to teach them how), which means every night for about two weeks lifting every hen onto its perch. This gets less onerous as the days go by, and now they are all perching.

Recent wwoof volunteers

Several wwoofers have been and gone since this blog was last updated - Will from Leicestershire, Andy from Surrey on his third visit, Marie from Germany, Melanie also from Germany, Lotte from the Netherlands who stayed for 6 weeks, and Antoine from France. We'd like to thank them all for their help and kindnesses and conversation while staying with us - our community farm couldn't operate without them.
Andy planting lettuces in the Mothership (with John, who is still with us)

Will helping to move the chickens to a new field.

Lotte sideshooting tomatoes in Nigel.
And apologies to the other three of whom I failed to get photographs.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Jake

Jake, from New York (seen here transplanting onions into our seventh permanent raised bed), left this morning after volunteering with us for two weeks. Thanks Jake for your help, and enjoy yourself in Bath!

Moving chicken sheds

We like to move our three chicken sheds into a fresh field every two years as part of our crop rotation - this time it took three years because last year we were so busy - but yesterday we took the plunge. In June we will plough up the field where they have spent the last three years, and plant and sow crops into it for the autumn and winter - we are still digging potatoes out of the field they have just moved into!
The first shed looping-the-loop to get the correct trajectory.

Navigating the second and third gateways.

The first shed clear of all the gateways and heading up to the top of their new field.

Shed 3 squeezing through - excellent expert driving from Kieron.

Will wheelbarrowing fencing and other equipment to the new locations.

Andy collecting eggs once the chickens had been released.

Our three sheds in their new field.