Monday, March 25, 2019

Potato planting 2019

Having been forced to wait for the ground to dry out sufficiently, we planted all our potatoes on Saturday 23rd March, one day earlier than last year. This year we have planted 28 sacks in total, being 2 of Casablanca first earlies, 2 of Charlotte salads, 6 of Maris Peer second earlies, 9 of Ambo maincrop, and 9 of Carolus blight-tolerant maincrop, all of which took 5 hours and filled about one acre of the old chicken field (Meeting Field).
Alan and Shelley on the back of the planter, loaded up and ready to go.

And in action.

A view from the tractor cab.
A special thanks to Shelley for helping out - Shelley helped plant potatoes two years ago as a wwoofer, and is now a member of staff at the farm, but gave up one of her days off to sit on the planter. And thanks to Alan, one of our current wwoofers, for filling the other seat.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Planting broad beans, salad, and kale

Six of our wonderful new permanent raised beds have recently been planted with seedlings from our Propagation Station - two with broad beans, two with mixed salad, and two with red Russian kale.
Broad bean seedlings outside hardening off prior to planting.

Adrien, our long-term French volunteer, planting broad beans.

Salad seedlings outside hardening off (to be planted just before Storm Gareth....).

Today's veg boxes

Today was "Purple kohl-rabi Friday".....
Azur Star kohl rabi ready for packing into veg boxes.

Giant red mustard about to be picked.

Anne harvesting giant winter spinach for our standard veg boxes.
Today's small veg boxes (£6) - purple kohl rabi, giant red mustard, mixed salad leaves, leeks, fresh coriander, and potatoes.
Today's standard veg boxes (£10) - purple kohl rabi, giant red mustard, mixed salad leaves, leeks, potatoes, spinach, kale, a lettuce, and fresh coriander.
We deliver to your door anywhere in West Penwith, and have collection hubs in Pendeen, St Ives, and Penzance.
When we need to pack our veg we use compostable starch bags or brown paper bags, and we re-use our veg boxes over and over again. We ask our customers to return their veg boxes and egg-boxes for us to re-use, and we encourage customers to provide re-usable containers for us to pack their veg into.
To join our veg box sceme phone us on 788454 or email vegbox.bcf@gmail.org.uk

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Stormy farming

After a week of stong winds and heavy rain (even hail) it's good to have the weather calm down this week, so that we can get out and prepare land for potatoes etc....
Watching the tail end of Storm Gareth lash the market garden, from the safety of a polytunnel.

Working in a polytunnel on Saturday afternoon 16/3/19 as Storm Gareth rages outside - weeding and planting with Alan and Adrien.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Nerida and Gerardo

Two other WWOOF volunteers have also completed their stays with us recently - Nerida from Melbourne, Australia, who was on her second visit, and Gerardo from Granada, Spain. Many thanks to both of them for their help during their stays, and we hope to see them back some day.
We are currently recruiting WWOOFers for this season, for stays of between two and six weeks starting from now. If you are interested in volunteering with us (or any other host in the UK) as a WWOOFer please visit the WWOOF UK website to join up, and contact us through them.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Weigh and pay self-service leaves

We've already moved on from bagging up our leaves into compostable bags. We found that the starch bags didn't keep the leaves as fresh as plastic bags, but we aren't willing to return to using disposable plastic. So we're now storing all our fresh leaves in large plastic containers in the shop, both in the fridge and on the shelves, from where customers can help themselves using tongs. We're offering three types of bag to use for this - free brown paper bags, compostable stach bags at 5p, and degradable plastic carrier bags also at 5p. We then weigh the bag on the shop scales. Customers can bring their own bags and containers to weigh into.



Jasmine, Shane, and Jelena

Jasmine, from Hertfordshire, volunteered as a WWOOFer on the farm for one week; Shane, from Bristol, for one month; and Jelena, from Hamburg, also for one month; and all have come to the end of their stays with us recently and moved on. They are just three of the many hundreds of volunteers from around the UK and the rest of the World that have come to stay and help on the farm over the years, and to learn about small-scale sustainable farming. We'd like to thank them (and everyone else) for their help during their time with us, and wish them well in their futures.
Jelena planting mange-tout seedlings in and end of one of our polytunnels.

Shane and Jasmine preparing a bed for mange-tout.

Shane and one of the prepared beds. We're experimenting this year by planting mange-tout into some underused polytunnel ends, to try to maximise space in 3 of our tunnels.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Amel

Amel, a French teacher of English, has left the farm this afternoon to head back to home and work, having volunteered with us for almost two weeks. This photo is of Amel preparing beetroot this morning to go into veg boxes for tomorrow's deliveries. Thank you Amel!

St. Mary's School visit the farm

St Mary's C of E Primary visited the farm on Tuesday 28th January. The year 2 class were extremely enthusiastic and well behaved and enjoyed a variety of activities including visiting our hens to collect eggs, harvesting, weighing and bagging some of our produce to take back to school with them, building a super bug hotel and sowing a patch of wild flowers around our well to help the bees.
 
The bare area by our well in Home Field, sown with wildflower seeds by the school pupils.

The bug hotel in our willow copse on the market garden, built by the school pupils.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

fitting a new floor in chicken shed 1

Of our three chicken sheds, shed 1 was the only one that hadn't had a new floor since the community farm began in 2010. The old floor was made of bits of wood found in the outbuildings when we took on the lease, and was a few years past its best. So today we treated our oldest birds to a lovely new plywood floor.
The old floor taken out.

Adrien fitting new support struts.

Adrien and Andy fitting the new floor panels.

All done and the chickens allowed back in.
Many thanks to Adrien and Andy who did nearly everything between them in less than one day.

climate

As the climate changes and the weather gets less predictable and more freakish, here's some photos comparing this February to last year.
Our polytunnels bathed in a February heatwave, 27/2/2019.

View to the coast on the walk to work this morning.

Our polytunnels on 28th February last year.

Almost the same view on 28th February 2018.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Cornish hedge repairs

The tall Cornish hedge by the back door of our packing shed has been slowly bulging at the base for years, pushing further and further across the doorway, scraping the skin off our knuckles when going in and out with wheelbarrows of veg.
The bulging hedge encroaching across the doorway, threatening to collapse.
Before the hedge fell down of its own accord (which could have hurt one of our team of volunteers), we took it down, and built it back up again.
All the stones from the hedge laid out ready for rebuilding.
The rebuilt section.

No bulge, and a clear safe run through to the door.

compostable bags

In 2015 we started using degradable plastic bags to pack our leaves (salad, herbs, chard, kale etc..) instead of standard plastic. These break down over time so as not to litter the environment, but are still manufactured from oil, and are not recyclable (unlike the standard plastic bags that they replaced). We wanted to use compostable bags, but none were available at the time. Technology has now caught up with demand, and we are pleased to have found some compostable bags ideally suited to our use. These are made from potato starch and "other biologically sourced polymers" such as wood pulp and sugar-cane waste. They will compost in three to six months in a home compost heap (quicker than that in a hot composting system). Our leaves are now being sold in these bags. They are substantially more expensive than the degradable bags that they replaced (which were substantially more expensive than standard plastic), so we have had to increase the cost of our leaves by 10p per bag in the farm shop.
Information in our farm shop.

Our new compostable bags in action on our farm shop shelves.
The bags can still be re-used before composting, but they can't be recycled. The only other packaging that we use for our own veg is brown paper bags. We support the "Plastic-Free Penzance" and "Plastic-Free St. Just" movements, and you can find out more about them on their facebook sites.

seeds for sale

Our farm shop (which is open 362 days of the year from 11am till 6pm, and run almost entirely by volunteers) has a new range of seeds for sale. These are from the Seed Co-Operative, a community owned organic seed company based in East Anglia, an organisation with a lot in common with Bosavern Community Farm and whom we are pleased to support. We have used their seeds on the farm before and found them to be of good quality and good value, plus they are organic and open-pollinated (no hybrids). We have 30 types of seed for sale including lettuce, peas, beans (runner, broad, and climbing), phacellia green manure, coriander, basil, parsley, parsnips, cabbages, carrots, leeks, pumpkins, courgettes, tomatoes, beetroot, kale, chard, radish etc...
Adrien, our long-term French volunteer, has built a display rack out of pallets and an old clothes horse, which looks superb. You can find out more about the Seed Co-Operative at www.seedcooperative.org.uk

Yerin again

Yerin, from South Korea, who stayed for the month of December, came back for three weeks in February before heading off travelling again. Many many thanks to Yerin for her winter wwoofing help, and we wish her all the best in her future.

Emma

Emma came down to help us from Bristol, but had to leave after only four days due to coming down with bad flu - thank you Emma for your short but useful stay, and we hope to see you again later in the year (for longer!).

Friday, February 8, 2019

Revamping the packing shed

Our packing shed, which used to be the cow shed when it was a dairy then beef farm, is a huge space primarily used for storing miscellaneous items. But last weekend we sorted it out and created a much more useable space, with a larger packing and collection area, and a new seating area for use by visitors and volunteers.
The old veg box packing and collection area.
The area that has become the new veg box packing and collection area.

Robert levelling the floor at the back of the shed, before putting tables and shelves for veg boxes in place.

Adrien and Robert dismantling the shelves.

Adrien admiring the new veg box packing and collection area.

Andy and Anne packing veg boxes in the new big area yesterday.

The new multi-use seating area where the packing area used to be.
 A huge improvement all round - many thanks to everyone who helped with this winter project.

Recent veg boxes

Spring greens, ready to pack into last week's veg boxes.

Last Friday's veg £10 veg box - cauliflower, leeks, swede, beetroot, lettuce, potatoes, mixed herbs, Chinese leaves, chard, and kale.

Harvesting leeks.

Picking French breakfast radish early on a Friday morning.
We deliver veg boxes all around St. Just, Pendeen, Sennen, St. Buryan, Porthcurnoe, Newlyn, Mousehole, Penzance, Sancreed, and places in between, for £1 delivery; or you can collect at no extra charge from our community hubs at Bosavern Community Farm (St. Just), the North Inn (Pendeen), Cafe Art (St. Ives), and the Redwing Gallery (Penzance). Contact the farm on 01736 788454 for more details.

Thursday picking and packing volunteers

Every Thursday we spend all day picking and packing veg for our veg boxes and restaurant orders, both of which go out on a Friday morning. We are currently blessed with a wonderful team of local volunteers who come to help us harvest, whether rain or shine. Many many thanks to Anne, Ben, Ian, Jenny, Linda, Margaret and Sue. If anybody else would like to join the team then please contact us on 01736 788454, or email info@bosaverncommunityfarm.org.uk
Margaret, Anne, Jenny and Ben, preparing leeks in the packing shed.

Linda and Ian in the fruit cage, which they have overhauled this winter.

Sue picking mooli in one of the polytunnels.

Sleet and rain lashing the farmyard on the Thursday before last, when we all went out and got wet picking veg - a huge thank you to our volunteers for this one!