Sunday, October 29, 2017

Preparing the polytunnels for winter

Preparing the outdoor beds for winter starts - if it can be said to start at any particular time - with sowing the leek seedbed in a polytunnel at the beginning of March, and continues throughout the year until about the middle of October, when we harvest our pumpkins/squash and bring them in for storage. Preparing the polytunnels for winter starts in the second half of August with the first tentative sowings of brassica crops (except that this year we sowed polytunnel carrots in July with a view to having them ready by Christmas), but happens mostly in September and October as the summer crops run out of steam and beds are cleared to make way. So far we have planted purple kohl rabi, mixed brassica salads (rocket, mizuna etc..), watercress, headed winter lettuces, parsley, mooli radish (daikon), frisee chicory, radiccio, Chinese cabbage, giant winter spinach, and pak choi. We still have a bit to do in some of our tunnels, but we will be there before November starts to bite.
Frisee endives planted amongst still-productive peppers and French beans.

Jon and Clare planting radiccio between beds of salads and winter brassicas.

Having harvested all our remaining chillies and put them to dry over the rayburn, Jon and Clare are pulling out the plants to make room for planting giant winter spinach.

Veg boxes 27th October

Last week's small £6 veg box contained a whole squash/pumpkin, red Russian kale, cara potatoes, mixed beetroot, a rocoto chilli; and a cauliflower from Cargease Organics in Cockwells, Penzance.

The standard £10 veg box contained all the above, plus peppers, leeks, and a bag of mixed salad leaves.


Many thanks to Joanna, who left the farm on Thursday to head to Brighton, after 3 weeks wwoofing with us.
Joanna laying out squash in the polytunnel, having wheelbarrowed about 400kg there by herself.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Veg boxes 20th October

Standard veg box (£10) - onions, potatoes, courgettes, kale, French beans, turnips, pumpkin portion, peppers, lemon verbena, rainbow chard, and tomatoes.

Small veg box (£6) - onions, potatoes, kale, rainbow chard, peppers, turnips, and a pumpkin portion.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Squash in the farm shop

We now have a range of ten squash varieties available to buy at £2 per kilo in the farm shop.
Blue Ballet

Crown Prince

Green Hokkaido

Jack O Lantern

Sweet Dumpling

Turk's Turban

Winter Luxury

Jack Be Little

The shop is open every day of the week from 11am till 6pm.


Matthew planting giant winter spinach into a bed in the Mothership polytunnel.
As I write this, Matthew is on a train on his way back to London, having come down to Cornwall to help out on the community farm for one week. Thanks to Matthew for his help, and I hope you found it a worthwhile experience.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

St Just In Bloom presentation

On Friday 13th October, Chris and Ian represented the community farm at the St Just In Bloom presentation, in conjunction with Britain In Bloom and the Royal Horticultural Society. For the thrid year running we received the highest accolade in the "It's Your Neighbourhood" section - outstanding.
This year we also helped St Just In Bloom by planting bedding plants into several planters on the entrance to town.

Not much of what we do would be possible without our volunteers - local, national, and international - who help out on the farm every day of the year, so a VERY BIG THANK YOU to every one of them.

Squash harvest 2017

This year has been a bumper harvest of winter squash, totalling over 1200 kg, four times the amount we harvested last year. The first few "gem" squash went out in our veg boxes on Friday, and there will be plenty available in our farm shop from next week onwards (once they have cured in our polytunnel). We have several varieties, including blue ballet, crown prince, winter luxury, green Hokkaido, jack-o-lantern, jack be little, turk's turban, sweet dumpling, and gem.
Part of our squash patch before harvesting.

One of many wheelbarrows of squash heading for the polytunnel.

The main bench of squash curing in our propagation tunnel.

More squash on more shelves!
A selection of squash laid out to cure.
All our squash are good eaters (rather than good carvers, although the two jacks are very good for that too), and will be on sale at £2 per kilo in the farm shop, at farmers' markets, and to local restaurants and pubs, as well as going into our weekly veg boxes for the forseeable future.

Veg boxes 13th October

Small veg box (£6) - cara potatoes, kale, onions, tomatoes, beetroot, and gem squash (a South African variety ideal for stuffing, small and round and dark green).
Standard veg box (£10) - cara potatoes, kale, onions, beetroot, gem squash, Swiss chard, Vietnamese coriander, courgettes, peppers, rocket, and purple-top turnips.

Josef, Elisa, Nathan, and David

Josef (left) and Nathan (right) picking kale beneath bird-mesh.

David planting Chinese cabbage in the Mothership polytunnel.

Nathan with a barrow of turnips in the farmyard.
Another four wwoof volunteers have moved on recently after several weeks each helping on the farm - Josef from Germany, Elisa from Italy (sorry, no photo!), Nathan from France, and David from the UK. Many thanks to them all for their help, and we wish them well in their onward travels.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Veg boxes 6th October

Standard veg box, Friday 6th October: Valor potatoes, courgettes, peppers, red Russian kale, purple-top turnips, rocket, tomatoes, perpetual spinach, mixed herbs, and a romanesco (all grown on the community farm except the romanesco which came from Cargease Organics near Penzance).
We produce veg boxes every Friday, 52 times a year, and we have done so since May 2011. We have two sizes of veg box, the standard for £10, and the small for £6, with the majority of the contents being grown here on the community farm (we buy some veg from two organic farms near Penzance). We will deliver to most addresses in Penwith for a £1 delivery charge (please enquire), or you can collect at no additional cost from the farm, or the North Inn in Pendeen, or CafeArt in St Ives. We can also include in your veg box our own free-range eggs, local organic bread from Vicky's in Helston, and local organic milk from Treen. You can choose to have your box weekly or fortnightly, once a month or as a one-off, and you can pay by cash or cheque on delivery or set up a standing order.

Please contact us on 788454 or for more details.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Open day photos

The day started very damp and gloomy, but the forecast was for a gradual improvement....

Rosie setting up her pop-up food van in a wet deserted farmyard. Rosie's homemade burgers were wonderful, and after an umpromising start she did a good trade later....

At least our farm shop was looking lovely and bright, unlike the weather outside....

Three conservation organisations set up their information stands in the cob barn - Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and the local hedgehog rescue with a real life rescued hedgehog....

The cob barn soon filled with people having their faces painted and making mini hedgehogs out of teasals, as well as warming by the wood-burner and admiring the landscape paintings from workshops held on the farm....

Sonja with her peace tent and raffle, as the weather moves from grey to white....

The cow-shed-cafe serving hot soup, drinks and cake, set up in our veg packing area....

A tour of the bee-friendly garden.....

Inside the bee-ed shed with representatives of Bosavern Community Farm and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust....

Land And Sea choir sang and the Cob Nuts recited poetry around the campfire outside the cob barn, and by the end of the afternoon you could even see the sea!
Our open day was held in partnership with the CSA Network UK, and despite the weather we were very pleased with the amount of people who came to their community farm to look around, take part, help out, chat, eat cake, do their shopping, listen to singing and poetry, admire art, and support us and our fellow community organisations. Many many thanks to everybody who helped to make the day such a success.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Veg boxes 29th September

Small veg box (£6) - rainbow chard, red Russian kale, valor potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, beetroot, and a hot rocoto chilli.

Standard veg box (£10) - rainbow chard, red Russian kale, oriental greens, cucumber, valor potatoes, leeks (from Cargease Organics), courgettes, purple-top turnips, beetroot, peppers, and a hot rocoto chilli.