Next Volunteer Day: Friday June 19th 2pm

IMG_20150515_154218Sun sun sun! Come & get some sunshine, enjoy a spot of work outside, and make new friends on our next volunteers’ afternoon, next Friday at Grown Green @ Hartley Farm. Possible jobs include seed sowing, planting leeks, planting (& eating!) strawberries, a spot of weeding, sorting out some flowers in pots… and anything else that crops up. Free lovely barista coffee & snacks included, so drop me a line if you’re interested! kate.collyns@gmail.com

Manic May Catch-Up

IMG_20150527_171244Now the Elephant Polytunnel is finished at last, we finally managed to plant the tomatoes last Wednesday, phew! This means that the peppers are in, tomatoes are in, some cucumbers and climbing beans are in (the rest in the next 10 days); so the tunnels have now caught up at last (the tomato tunnel still needs some work asap though, since some don’t have the strings planted under their roots to grow up; and most don’t have straining wire in place for the string to tie on too, since I’m waiting for fixings etc to arrive). I also managed to plant out all the pumpkins and the majority of squash plants in the main field last week, after using Howard the rotovator to go over the patch again (bloody thistles!). However towards the end of the patch, Howard starting losing power (I think the clutch plate has gone again); so I now have the happy annual task of trying to find someone who knows what they’re doing and will help me fix him. Hmm…

IMG_20150518_153517 IMG_20150528_173436Now I need to catch up on all the jobs that have been waiting while the tunnels and crops were being sorted: we did manage to keep the successional sowings (kale, lettuce, fennel, basil) going in between jobs, so that’s not too bad (although I haven’t sown any sunflowers yet); but round the tunnels and fields desperately need a strim (the mower is still not back from the mechanics, argh); the weeds in the umbellifer/beetroot patch have shot up, and the courgettes could also do with a hoe; not to mention planting out the first batch of fennel once the ground is hoed first; I need to drill more spinach and herbs; plus in a couple of weeks the leeks will want to be planted out.

IMG_20150522_151051Oh and really helpfully, we have been forecast 50mph winds tonight and tomorrow, AGAIN. This year has been ridiculously windy, not just the usual wintery gales: I remember the damage the winds did to Vole Tunnel’s plastic back in February, simply bursting through the plastic; and we seem to have had strong winds pretty much weekly since then. So I’ll need to go round making more stone bags to weigh down nets today; and try & work out how to secure the polytunnel doors as much as possible. I’d love to plant hedging right next to the tunnels, but I’m not sure how practical it will be on this rented land, or how effective – we are pretty much right on top of the hill above Bath. I did start planting soft fruit bushes (such as a few red currants, right) behind Vole Tunnel, which I might look into again. Heigh ho and fingers crossed; here’s to a calmer rest of the year: and if anyone still doesn’t believe in climate change… pah!