31st March

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”.

Winter

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.

Midwinter on the Farm

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.

The sunset was stunning!

November 6th

Lockdown again.

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.

Two weeks later

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.

 

We are facing up to Coronavirus, but still active

We had our first working day of the Coronavirus Era yesterday. We had our coffee break outside on the tables, for the first time this winter, and even then we spread ourselves out widely.

But we were all there!

Some of us will not come to the Tuesday work days for the time being, but will come at other times, and we will liaise by email as to what needs to be done, what to harvest.

We did have quite a large harvest this week as you can see from my boxes. That was partly finishing off some of the last season’s veg to make room for new planting, like last bits of the brussels sprouts plants, and some cabbage fragments. Also, the leeks are beginning to bolt, so we did a very large harvest of them. Not many of them left now.