The sun came out just in time for the latest Bath & Bristol Organic Growers‘ Meeting, on the afternoon of Thursday 29th October. Cordelia and Chris from Vallis Veg near Frome had kindly volunteered to host, and there was a good turn out of interested people for a quick farm walk and catch up before the sun went down.
Vallis Veg currently grows on around 3 acres, on a larger site that also houses livestock (small flock of sheep, a couple of pigs currently, and laying ducks for some of the year too), as well as offering camping (complete with composting toilets), and space for forest schools and courses. Veg is grown in the ‘garden’, three small polytunnels (plus small prop tunnel), and some strips in nearby fields, mostly for their small local box scheme, but also increasingly for the Frome Food Assembly.
It was great to swap ideas and tips on crops among the group; Cordelia and Chris are moving towards a no-tillage system, with semi-permanent raised beds mounded up in the garden, and plan to grow the field crops in a similar way. Their late-sown peas were a good gamble (both inside and out), now bearing peas. Windrows of woodchip for making compost was a talking point; mixed with urine from the compost loos, to produce a closed-system compost after three or four years. Bolting kales and slug-nibbled broccolis were also covered; but one key feature of interest was the old Ford van now embeded in the hillside, banked up on all sides with soil and with a green roof growing on top. All the cracks have been filled with cement to keep rodents and other pests out, and this is now their cool storage space.
Thanks again to Cordelia and Chris for hosting, and for the very welcome tea and cake in their warm palatial ‘shed’ house! See you all at the next meeting; any volunteers for playing host in 2016 (involving a farm walk for a couple of hours), please get in touch.