Monday, March 26, 2018

Mathis, Mateo and Fabiola

Our three lovely wwoof volunteers, pictured above, have left the farm to return to France and Germany, after spending most of March helping us out. Here they are preparing a tomato bed in the polytunnel, converting it from winter salads and digging in lots of our own compost.

Potato planting 2018

After the Beast from the East parts 1 and 2, and despite there being rumours of part 3 to come, we managed to plant all our potatoes on Saturday 24th March. This is probably the latest we've ever planted potatoes, and possibly the coldest wettest conditions too - the ground was so wet that the tractor would only pull the potato planter through it when going downhill, even though the incline is very slight.
Mateo and Mathis on the potato planter, fully loaded and ready to go (downhill!).
This year we decided to only plant first (Casablanca and Colleen) and second (Maris Peer) earlies, plus Charlotte salad potatoes, although we have done a single line of our own saved Sarpo Mira blight-tolerant maincrops. This was to save money on our seed potato bill, and because we don't have a functioning potato lifter, so that all our potatoes have to be dug by hand. We plan to buy local organic maincrop potatoes in bulk later in the season.
26 lines of 5 varieties of potatoes planted, taking 3 people most of one day.
 At the moment we are still digging up three varieties of potato planted this time last year - Valor, Ambo and Sarpo Mira. The longer they are in the ground though the more slug and eel-worm damage they sustain, and the recent heavy frosts have also damaged some.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Veg boxes 23rd March

Tomorrow's veg boxes will include (although we have still to harvest the salad leaves, radishes, and kohl rabis):-
French breakfast radishes
 Small £6 veg box - potatoes, radishes, salad leaves, purple kohl rabi, spring greens, and parsley.

Frisee endives
Standard £10 veg box - potatoes, cauliflower, leeks, spring greens, lettuce, frisee endive radishes, oriental greens, and purple kohl rabi.

Spring greens

Planting broad beans

This year we decided not to overwinter any broad beans due to the problems of rodents and wind which have damaged us over the past few years. So we began by sowing beans in module trays in the polytunnel in January (we have just sown our fourth succession), and those beans were planted out on Tuesday into our first permanent raised bed.
Planting this season's first broad beans.

Our first permanent raised bed full of beans.

So, time to create the second bed!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Our first permanent raised bed outside

In January we split the market garden into two equal halves, each of about one acre, with one half to be worked by tractor and one by hand (this latter to include the polytunnels, fruit cage, perennial beds, and permanent raised beds). The tractor-worked half will be ploughed soon, and the available parts of the other half will be converted to permanent raised beds - we built the first of these on Tuesday.
The bed marked out at one metre wide, covered with a layer of our own rough compost, and one path begun.

Sam, Mateo and Lillie digging out the paths, and piling the soil onto the compost to create a raised bed.

Planting outdoor salad

On Tuesday we planted this season's first bed of outdoor salad, including lettuces, mizuna, rocket, and mustards.
Mateo, Lillie and Sam planting salad plugs through a mulch of municipal compost inside a windbreak.

The first bed of four fully planted, and covered with wondermesh supported by hoops.

Veg boxes, Friday 16th March

£6 veg box = spring greens, leeks, potatoes, jerusalem artichokes, and a frisee endive.
£10 veg box = spring greens, potatoes, leeks, salad, lettuce, parsnips, savoy cabbage, fresh coriander, and oriental greens.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Alejandro and Maggie

Alejandro from Spain, who wwoofed with us for one month, and Maggie from Germany, who spent ten days with us on her second visit to the farm (last time being August 2016), both left last Tuesday for their next wwoof destinations. Many thanks to both of them for their help, especially during the "Beast from the East".
Alejandro feeding chickens during one of the blizzards.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Today's harvesting

We took the decision yesterday morning to postpone our veg boxes by one day, so harvesting on Friday and delivering on Saturday (tomorrow). Our van was stuck at the top of the hill outside the farm, along with about 30 other vehicles, after Wednesday's sudden and heavy blizzard caught us and many other people by surprise. This would have made collecting veg from Cargease Organics in Cockwells very tricky, and our delivery route dangerous/impossible.

Many thanks to the kind delivery driver who towed our van back onto the road at midday yesterday, allowing us to get it back to the farm. We managed to pick up our veg order this morning after a night of thawing and rain.

Carrying a trug full of Chinese leaves back from the polytunnels - these go under the heading of "Oriental greens" in our veg boxes, and are great in a stir-fy, green soup, saag aloo etc...

Maggie picking lettuces in Imogen polytunnel.

Mathis stocking the shop.

Alejandro collecting eggs up at the chicken sheds (they came outside for most of the day, but we shut them in again when a new snoe flurry came down mid-afternoon).

Our shop was open as normal from 11am till 6pm (except for fresh bread from Vivky's, which hasn't made it through to us since Wednesday morning).
Both Pendeen and St. Just markets are cancelled tomorrow morning. We are expecting deliveries of both bread and milk in the morning at the farm, so we'll be fully stocked and open as normal. Chris, our volunteer delivery driver, will be heading out from the farm in the morning to deliver the veg boxes - one day late but hopefully worth waiting for!

Many thanks to Andy, James, Shelley, Mathis, Mateo, Maggie, and Alejandro for helping on the farm over the past few difficult and freezing days.