Friday, November 15, 2013

From tomatoes to winter salads.

Over the past two weeks we have converted our biggest polytunnel from tomatoes (with a few aubergines, tomatillos, physallis, squashes and courgettes thrown in) to winter salads.
Alice, Charlotte, Phil, Amelia and Friederike digging beds
First we harvested the remaining tomatoes, both red and green (for chutney), pulled out all the plants, chopped them up and added them to our compost bins. Then we rolled up the woven black plastic mulch, marked out beds of 1.2m width, and dug them over to a spades' depth removing any living couch roots we found (not many, surprisingly). With a good team of volunteers this took two days.
The beds all dug over, and trays of salads ready to plant.
We had sown thousands of salad seeds into modules one month beforehand, so they were ready to plant when the time came (although they were quite small, we're not sure the compost was good enough quality). So we relaid the irrigation pipes, added four more, and planted salad seedlings 10cm apart in two lines, one either side of each irrigation pipe, making 24 lines of salad in total.
Martin and Rebecca planting the first salad seedlings.
 The plants have responded well to getting their feet into the soil, and we hope to start harvesting them in early December. We planted a mix of brassica salads (mizuna, mibuna, rocket, senposai, tat soi, serifon, sessantina, shungiku etc.) plus winter spinach, claytonia, watercress, and red salad bowl lettuce. As always, many thanks to all our volunteers for their invaluable help.

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