It was supposed to rain last Tuesday. So Go Local Food set to and planted lots of brassicas out on the fields. Guess what? It didn’t rain! So – lots of watering is needed. Words need to be had with the weather forecaster.
Next day Wednesday was sun burn weather – the sun was out but the wind took the heat off. Not a good combination for planting out or for the work shares who needed protection on head and arms.
Herbs such as parsley, chervil and coriander are being pricked out. These will go in the shade in Bill’s tunnel – the one which was erected earlier this season (where the dome used to be for those with long memories).
Tomatoes are planned to be in both the small poly tunnels with two tomatoes per large tub. Now Ian our grower is mulling over whether he should cut back the leading vine of each large fruiting tomato plant (not worth it on the cherry tomatoes) and pick from the side shoots so that there is a larger crop from what he thinks will be a smaller space than in recent years. This thinking follows a happening from last season. One of the work shares planted tomatoes in tubs thinking they were peppers. Too late the mistake was realised and much cutting back took place. The side shoots were highly productive but it was too late in the season and in October there was a glut of green tomatoes.
With the warm weather of course it is busy work keeping up with the watering.
A morning’s work with a potato planting machine saw 12 rows of early potatoes planted on Wednesday. Grower Ian was the driver and work share Duncan the man standing on the rear platform. A good work session there. Another work session on Friday with Ian and Duncan should see the main crop potatoes planted up as well. Adjustments will have to be made to the planter for the size of the main crop seed potatoes.
The last of the old cold compost heap has been spread on the planned squash bed. This disturbed a multitude of short tailed voles and long tailed mice as the compost was moved – wild life everywhere in fact. Doubtless they will become the latest foragers in the poly tunnels and planted up crop share beds. The next job there is putting down membrane on the composted patch so that the squash can be planted through it like last year. The new hot composting system is working fast and grower Ian thinks that it will soon be time to turn the first bay.
Membrane has to go down on the brassica beds and the anti pigeon frames rebuilt. All the pigeons have been down on the Prudhoe allotments decimating brassicas left uncovered recently but the message will soon get out that Go Local Food is the next cafe stop for meals – soon as they check in on Facebook to see that brassicas are being planted out.
Carrots have been sown with radish on either side of the rows. The radish being a quick cash and soon picked crop will allow for hoeing between the carrot rows to let the air in as the carrots grow. Three rows of parsnip have been sown and another two will hopefully be added. The last of the onions have been planted – rather late but planted. Beetroot is planted out and the first peas are ready to go into the hot compost beds.
Ian our grower has bought himself a new toy which will be very popular up at the Go Local Food fields. He hopes to have the potato planter that he has ordered is delivered either Monday or Tuesday. Then potato planting is planned for Wednesday. It’s a self feeder that drops a seed potato at specified spacing (adjustable as specified when setting up). But it’s still with the need of a person to sit behind in case and pick one when said new toy fails to do as it should. It does sound fun – work shares on Wednesday could have a really different day.
It’s the time of year to ensure that summer crops are sown in the poly tunnels to grow on ready to go out into the Go Local Food fields. Remember the display of squash last year? Well now is the time to plan for this year’s display.
- Recently transplanted – 25 x 35 cells of lettuce
- Recently sown – sweetcorn, squashes, beetroot, broad beans, summer savory, Chinese cabbage, several varieties of herbs
Ian our grower has been asked, why so many trays of lettuce? Well, we have 3 different types, iceberg, butterheads and cut and come again. We will also be planting half of each type in the polytunnels and half under cloches outside which will slow down ripening, which means spreading the harvest over several weeks.
It was realised late on this week that the work shares who normally take care of the harvesting were light on the ground so a call went out on Thursday evening and our members responded brilliantly. The majority of the crops were gathered together before both midday and the first cuppa!
A big thank you to Chris, Chris, Fania, Mike, Deborah, Amy, and new member Carole and her daughter Evie who did sterling work counting and displaying the radishes.
Of course, we couldn’t have done it without Friday regulars Sue and John keeping us on the right track!
The cooperative belongs to us all so it’s always great when our community spirit comes together on the field. Volunteering on the field isn’t just for all-hands days and doesn’t have to be for long so if you ever have a bit of spare time, particularly on a Friday from 10am-3pm or a Saturday morning from 10am then you’d be more than welcome. If you know in advance you’ll be coming, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so Ian can plan his task list but even if you turn up unannounced you’ll never be turned away!
We also have volunteering opportunities with the Growing Gang, events, social media, advertising, and on our board of directors. There are certainly plenty of ways for us all to help our cooperative flourish.