Thursday, July 19, 2018

Recent veg boxes

Farming has kept us too occupied to manage our social media recently, so here's a little catch-up...
Small box 29th June - climbing beans, courgette, cucumber, new potatoes, rainbow chard, black Tuscan kale.

Standard box 6th July - redcurrants, cucumbers, basil, new potatoes, black Tuscan kale, chard, broad beans, and climbing beans.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Bastien and Linda

Another two wwoofers left us yesterday morning to head to new farms - Bastien from France and Linda from the USA.
Bastien planting red amaranth (from Kerala) in the Mothership.

Linda's parting gift - a herb and flower pot garden by the kitchen door.
Many thanks to Bastien and Linda, and good luck to you both!

Veg boxes 15th June

We're moving into new season produce now, which is a wonderful feeling, and makes for some exceptional veg boxes after the winter and hungry gap!
Small veg box (£6) - black Tuscan kale, small fresh onions, climbing French beans, mixed salad leaves, a cucumber, and a courgette.

Standard veg box (£10) - small fresh onions, rhubarb, mange-tout, climbing French beans, mixed herbs, courgettes, a cucumber, mixed salad leaves, and black Tuscan kale.
Everything was grown on the community farm except for the courgettes, which are from an organic farm near Penzance.

We deliver veg boxes every Friday throughout West Penwith - email us for more details on vegbox.bcf@bcents.org.uk

John and Markie

Two of our team of wwoof volunteers left on Monday to go to their next farms - John from Australia, and Markie from the USA.
Markie planting lemon basil in Valentine polytunnel.

John picking green and purple basil in Valentine polytunnel.
Thanks as always go to our wonderful volunteers, and best wishes for their futures.

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.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Arin

Arin, a wwoofer from the USA, has moved on from the farm this morning to continue her tour of the UK. We'd like to thank Arin for her help over the past two weeks (and special thanks for the interesting book she left for us), and wish her all the best in her onward travels.
Arin (on the left) picking outdoor salad with Lotte, Andy and Andy.

Arin (again on the left) about to pick sprouting kale tips, with Andy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Plants for sale

We have a wide range of plants for sale outside our farmshop, price £1 each, including tomatoes, chillies, herbs, and bee-friendly wildflowers. The shop is open daily from 11am till 6pm.
Our plant stall outside the farmshop - plants grown by Ian, potted up by Ann and Ben, and the mobile stand built by Andy.

Ian has also cleared the cattle trough above the farmyard and filled it with some of the plants he's grown, to create a pollinator-friendly mini-garden.
All grown from seed on the farm using peat-free potting compost.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Veg boxes 4th May

We are now in the midst of the "hungry gap", which is always a struggle (even with 6 polytunnels), but we still managed to fill thirty veg boxes last Friday.
Small veg box (£6) - Ambo potatoes, parsley, Chinese leaves, purple sprouting broccoli, red cabbage, and a "marvel of four seasons" lettuce.

Standard veg box (£10) - Ambo potatoes, parsley, Chinese leaves, purple sprouting broccoli, red cabbage, "marvel of four seasons" lettuce, rhubarb, mixed salad leaves, and giant red mustard leaves.
All the plastic bags used in our veg boxes are biodegradable.

Planting tomatoes, chillies, and aubergines

135 "Long black" aubergine plants ready to into the ground in Valentine polytunnel.

65 chilli plants (jalapeno, habanero, and ring-of-fire) being planted in the Mothership polytunnel.

Nigel polytunnel full of 294 tomato vines of many varieties.

Valentine polytunnel planted with tomatoes, aubergines, lettuces, and radishes.

Valentin and Gabriella

Two other wwoof volunteers who left the farm recently are Valentin, from Switzerland, who stayed with us for 4 weeks, and Gabriella, from Germany, who helped for one week. We wish them well in their further endeavours.
Valentin planting chillies in the Mothership polytunnel.

Hitomi

Hitomi, from Japan, who volunteered with us as a wwoofer, left recently after two weeks at the farm. Many thanks Hitomi for your help during your stay.
Hitomi collecting compost from our bays, to prepare beds for planting tomatoes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Beltane

We will not be hosting a Beltane celebration at the farm this year, as the event has returned to its traditional venue of the summit of Carn Bosavern. There will even be a new Maypole created by a local artist. Everybody is welcome to attend, on Monday 30th April from 6:30pm.

Sowing swedes

Swedes (short for "Swedish turnips") are not everyone's favourite veg, but they are a staple ingredient in traditional Cornish pasties, and are a good winter root crop. Yesterday we sowed 16 lines of them in one of our fields, in between the downpours.
Last season was the first time we'd ever had total swede failure, so we've tried harder this year....fingers crossed.

Outdoor salad

Our first new season crop this year has been a bed of outdoor salad, which we uncovered and began harvesting from last Friday morning. The salad is amazing, young and fresh and tender, and has been sold to several restaurants already, as well as going into veg boxes and being available in our farm shop and at all 3 of our farmer's markets.
Andy and Hitomi preparing to pick the first salad leaves from this season's first outdoor bed.


Jana

Jana, from Germany, left this morning after volunteering with us for 4 weeks. Many thanks to Jana for all her help and tidying up!
Jana planting globe artichokes in the perennial area of the market garden.



Emma and Eloise

Emma and Eloise, from Cambridge, volunteered on the farm for 2 weeks, and left on Saturday for their next adventures. Many thanks for your help!
Eloise (centre) and Emma (right) planting cabalonero kale in our fifth permanent raised bed, with Andy and Andy, in the market garden.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Veg boxes 13th April

French breakfast radishes picked for veg boxes.
 Small £6 veg box - cauliflower, potatoes, Chinese leaves, coriander, parsley, and mixed salad leaves.

Frisee endives ready for picking.
Standard £10 veg box - cauliflower, potatoes, Chinese leaves, coriander, parlsey, frisee endive, purple kohl rabi, vivid choi greens, and French breakfast radishes.

Please email the farm on vegbox.bcf@bcents.org.uk to order your veg box, or to ask us about it.

Planting cucumbers and the first tomatoes

We've hopefully seen the last of the cold winter weather (Cornwall had double the average precipitation in March, some of which fell as snow), so we've planted this years cucumber crop in the polytunnel, being 120 plants of Passandra, plus our first 90 tomato plants. The second batch of tomatoes will be ready to plant in two weeks time, and the third batch is just germinating now.
Cucumber plants in the Sausage polytunnel.

Tomato plants gradually replacing winter salads in Nigel polytunnel.

And a photo of the mange-tout plants in Imogen polytunnel, just because they look amazing.