We have a field in Winfarthing, together with three polytunnels; where we meet to work weekly, including harvesting whatever is ready. Whoever is working that day takes home a box of freshly harvested vegetables. Very little money is involved.
It was definitely warmer when I last posted but although winter temperatures are with us, crops such as leeks, spinach and chard are being harvested. In polys, rocket seedlings are slowly growing and cabbage plants are making progress, covered with net to try and deter pests.
One entire patch of lettuce seedlings has provided food for slugs, so around another patch the deterrent of eggshells may hopefully keep these molluscs at bay.
Among other jobs, areas under soft fruit bushes are being cleared of weeds, empty plots are receiving manure and then covered with mypex and a new strawberry patch has taken shape, planting through mypex to reduce weeding.
Big mistake. We should not have removed the nets encirling the pole beans.
Rabbits (we think, as opposed to deer) have bitten through many stems, so, although we are harvesting cobra and runner beans at present, some plants (including the borlottas) will die. We have replaced the nets, shortening the height, in the hope rabbits can’t reach up but we can reach down behind the nets to harvest the beans. Take note for next year.
The weeds are growing well, so quickly that the red onions have been inundated and we are concerned only a few have survived; a case of fingers crossed.
In battling the rabbits, even more patches have had to be covered, particularly during the young stage of growth. Netting now surrounds the squash beds.
The celeriac didn’t appreciate the unseasonal cold temperatures, with some deciding to go to seed but even with the strange weather this year, crops are developing and ripening and our take home box now includes carrots, spring onions, mangetout, strawberries, rhubarb and the start of the red currants, basil, kale, chard and spinach.
Another row of beetroot was sown for a succession crop.
Cauliflower and broccoli seedlings were planted and covered with the new enviromesh, although when cutting it, we discovered we had been supplied with a shorter length than that ordered, so adjustments had to be made.
Amongst other jobs, we finished erecting the bean pole canes (aided by a little helper), so the remaining climbing beans could be planted and then, as with the majority of the crops, protected from rabbit nibbling.
Fortunately we chose a day of light wind and only a few spots of rain in order to cover one of the polys, (needed as tomato plants were definitely ready, some possessing flowers).
Poles and canes are being erected to support the climbing beans.
Leek and mangetout seedlings were carefully planted but we’ve had failures; beasties have eaten cabbage plants and many of the cucumber plants, the latter we think by rats so a quick protection system has been improvised.
As restrictions are being lifted, we have managed to meet carefully, although the coffee and cake routine is still bring your own.
I was invited by the Norfolk Green Care Network to give a short talk about Diss Community Farm on 7th April 2021, which is linked above. I had 10 minutes, as part of an online event called “Growing Together” which included talks about other community farms and gardens: Grapes Hill Community Garden in Norwich, The Escape Garden in Swaffham, a talk about community gardens in London, and group allotments in Norwich from the allotment officer at Norwich City Council.
I found it to be very interesting overall, to find out how much is going on in the area that is similar to what we are doing here in Diss. My short talk might also be of interest to people who want to find out more about our Farm and its history, and I did give a preview to the Farm members a few days beforehand and incorporated their comments.