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News From The Farm: May

News From The Farm: May

What a brilliant few weeks we’ve had here at The Farm! You voted in your thousands and we managed to secure an incredible £38,300 from the National Lottery to build our Feel Good Garden – we are truly grateful. We’ll keep you posted on progress, every step of the way. Keep checking our website and social media for details! We’re also excited to be able to put the first produce from our polytunnels into our veg boxes, following the winter months. The new growing season is well and truly under way, as our Head Grower, John English, explains …

'It’s the first week of May and we’re fully into the hectic phase of the growing season when suddenly everything needs to happen at the same time; clearing and preparing ground, laying mulches, sowing the seed trays for all the new season crops, and planting out. Each week the urgent to-do list grows longer by another page (it’s currently at five A4 pages in my diary!). It means long days out on the field, but we’re managing to get it all done thanks to our team of amazing field staff and brilliant volunteers.

The winter-into-early-spring months were relatively dry this year, which allowed us to get out and cultivate the fields throughout March and April to prepare the land for planting. The first plantings of summer cabbages, kohl rabi, lettuce, broad beans, spinach and chards, are all in the ground on time, with a lot more to follow in the next few weeks. Our propagation polytunnel is full-to-bursting with trays of seedlings that need planting soon. The last of the winter and spring crops have been cleared from the polytunnels ready to put in the tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and chillies during May. Over the winter we’ve relocated and completely rebuilt one of our four polytunnels and it should be planted-up with tomatoes by the time you read this.

Mother Nature can sometimes intervene and scupper any best-laid plans. Last weekend we had to cancel the Community Farmer Day because of strong winds and wet ground caused by Storm Hannah. It’s very rare that we need to cancel one of these vital days, but the weather just didn’t want to co-operate with the allium planting we had planned for that day. As a result we’re going to have to find a way to plant, by hand, the 6,500 shallot and onion modules on another day. We’ll catch up and get it done, of course. But if you want to come out and help us with some spring planting, hopefully on a day when the weather is better, then all help is always very welcome at this time of year!’

John English
Head Grower

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