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.
A beautiful, warm day, to be enjoyed before the forecasted much cooler temperatures.
The site is looking good in preparation for this year’s crops, the photos showing beds rotovated, permanent residents in the herb patch, rhubarb developing well since last month’s photo and blackcurrant bushes in flower.
The autumn fruiting raspberry patch has been weeded and new shoots are appearing.
The autumn planted garlic and onions are progressing under their rabbit deterrent covering of enviromesh and the strawberry beds have been weeded and strawed.
We are creating comfrey beds, not only for the bees but to add to our bins of liquid fertiliser.
Seeds sown at home are now being planted – outside, hispi cabbage; in a polytunnel, lettuce and spinach.
The broad beans in one poly are in flower and the flat leaf parsley and self-seeded shungiku are flourishing.
During lockdown, we have been communicating through emails, phone and as Gary has said, through zoom, spreadsheets and a whiteboard of “jobs to do”.
Mid-winter and after all the rain we’ve received, the ground will be even more saturated come tomorrow, with snow forecast. Thank goodness we cultivate land on a slight slope.
We are still harvesting cabbages, cavolo nero kale, both green and red brussels sprouts, while kalette stalks have been left in the ground to provide spring greens.
Unfortunately as Gary has said, rabbits are tucking into the leeks as well as the celeriac, so these need harvesting. It looks like many plots will need to be covered with fleece this year as the plots of autumn sown and now shooting, garlic and onions, feature rabbit droppings scattered over the protective fleece.
The strawberry patches are looking good after careful, time-consuming weeding and strawing.
There are new shoots on the rhubarb; beautiful splashes of green and red.
Trenches have been dug by the autumn fruiting raspberries to suppress weeds.
Compost maintenance continues, heavy work but so necessary. Most of the patches have been manured prior to rotovation.
Within the polys, parsley and broad beans are making progress (with some holes in the leaves), while salad leaves and spring onions are peeping through the soil.
We’re so looking forward to when we can all meet together and to warmer weather, though the seasons are to be appreciated.
It was a cold but glorious January day. There were 3 of us, in a bubble, but very aware of COVID. Diss Community Farm is doing well, although we all miss coming at the same time, and our lovely coffee and cake breaks. We have regular Zoom meetings, and keep up to date using an online spreadsheet, and a white board in the caravan.
Today’s harvest was quite small: broccoli, leeks (which we are sharing with the rabbits) and a last stalk of brussels sprouts.
Mostly, we are getting ready for planting. The photo shows one of our no-dig beds, where we are putting a thick layer of compost, so the new plants will have just that to grow in.
We’ve had a few bright autumn days (with correspondingly lower temperature nights) but with planning and keeping to government guidelines, we should be able to maintain our site.
We continue to harvest eg leeks, while some late planted leeks are progressng well. Patches are rotovated and weeds strimmed and added to the compost bins.
In the spring, marigolds and nasturtiums were planted outdoors and in polytunnels and these continue to flower and do well; how about the nasturtium leaves (pictured in a polytunnel), which measure 22cm across.
We’re now meeting twice a week to permit social distancing of smaller numbers (yesterday there were seven of us and it’s a large area), plus frequent trips are made to the site to ensure the crops receive adequate hydration.
So, fortunately, crops are producing well.
Holly took photos, to document and amuse and I took a couple of our take-home box. The turnip measured 21 cm across and weighed in at 1.07 kg.