Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Planting winter salads in the polytunnels

This year we have grown two polytunnels-full (named Imogen and Nigel) of tomato vines, about 600 plants in total, of several varieties (my favourite being Sungold). They have produced very well for us through July and August, but now in September they have slowed down, partly due to the cooler weather and reducing daylength, but also because of the onset of tomato leaf mould.

One of our plants showing advanced leaf mould.

Although this fungal disease does not affect the tomatoes themselves (unlike tomato blight, with which it can be confused), it does kill the leaves, weakening the plant. We have some plans to combat this next year - mesh doors on the tunnels instead of plastic doors being our first choice.

So we have begun gradually removing the tomatoes, clearing their remains, weeding the beds, hoeing the beds, laying greenwaste compost, and planting the salad seedlings that we sowed at our Volunteer Social on 19th August (there was food and music too!).


The first two beds planted up.
To date we have completed 5 out of 14 beds this way, and now we are waiting for the next batch of salad seedlings to become ready, and still harvesting tomatoes in the meantime. These salad plants will help take us through the winter.

Sowing trays of winter salads at our volunteer social back in August.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Thao, Noosha, and Davis


We are blessed with a lovely house of WWOOF volunteers at the moment! Here they are heading off to the Maincrop Field to do some veg harvesting. Three of them have completed their stays with us recently and moved on - Thao, Noosha, and Davis - but four of them are still here, and those four have been joined by three new housemates. Many many thanks to all of them!

Friday, September 15, 2023

Alice and Luke

Alice and Luke, from the Brighton area, volunteered with us for two months over the summer, and moved on to paid work on an organic farm recently! Many thanks to Alice and Luke for their hard work and company whilst they were with us, good luck up country, and we hope to see you again soon.

Alice and Luke, on the left, enjoying their final morning coffee break on the farm.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Recent WWOOF volunteers

We have had a lot of volunteers through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms this summer, and we'd like to thank those who have completed their stay with us already - Craig, Bestie, Ahn, Yoomi, Ute, Rainer, Nico, Lilly, Yerin, Steven, Haniel, Jose, Alyson, and Hajin. We wish you all the best with your onward journeys!

Group of WWOOF volunteers (plus local volunteer Ben) leaving the potato patch last week.

Haniel and Steven picking tomatoes.

Nico and Lilly with a trailer loaded with hay bales.

Ute and Rainer collecting eggs.

Craig, on the right, helping to plant leeks back in July.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Hay 2023

What a summer to try and make hay in! With many thanks to Clive Williams, our local hay contractor, we somehow managed to pick a perfect weather window, cutting on the 19th August, baling on the 22nd and 23rd, and bringing it all in to the barn by the 24th, at which point it started raining again!! This year we have 915 bales from 4 fields, and it is excellent quality, priced at only £3.50 per bale, available through our farm shop, which is open Monday to Saturday 10am till 5pm.

Clive lining up hay in Far Field Middle ready for baling.

The small-baler ready for action.

Luke and Alyson loading bales onto the trailer.

Nico and Lilly in Carn Field with another trailer-load of hay (we had 16 of these).

Unloading hay back in the farmyard.

Stacking into the open barn ready for sale.
Many thanks to everybody who helped with this year's harvest (always one of the hottest itchiest most tiring jobs of the year) - Luke, Alice, Ross, Jose, Hajin, Stephen, Haniel, Nico, Lilly, Yerin, Alyson - and probably others too!

Nick Hall

It is with great sadness that we learnt of the passing away of one of our local stalwart volunteers, Nick, at the beginning of August, at the age of 45. Nick started coming to the farm when he was placed on furlough during the Covid lockdowns in 2020, and soon he was volunteering with us for 5 or 6 days per week, which was an enormous help to us, him, and the local community, as we struggled to keep up with the demands and pressures at that time. He enjoyed being on the farm so much that he was as annoyed as we were when he had to return to work! Nick was an incredible worker and an all-round great guy to have around. May he rest in peace.