Saturday, 29 March 2008

Beans Beans

While our Tomatoes and cucumbers are growing steadily in the tunnel, we also have lots of outdoor crops to be planting. Broad beans are a great hardy crop to have, they are lovely with new potatoes and onions in june ;-)

We've been planting them for what seems forever - 6 Kilos - roughly 3,000 of them!


And a few weeks later...


I'm just finishing the tables inside the tunnel, the theory is that it doubles the space on that side of the tunnel: we can grow plants like lettuce that like cooler conditions under the tables and melons on the top of the tables. I'm trying to maximise the use of the space that i've got. And on these cold, windy days I really appreciate this tunnel!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

sowing the seeds

Here's a typical bootload of seedlings going up to the site from our conservatory..Tomatoes, melons, cucumbers...all ready for the season.

As usual i've planted more than i need but it's a kind of insurance against slugs and their ilk..



The grapes are beginning to show their leaves, i'm really looking forward to seeing how they shape up this year..

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Fruit Cake

So my girlfriend thinks i'm a fruitcake! Why? Well, i've got this addiction you see... It involves visiting discount stores in the Springtime and buying AS MANY FRUIT TREES AS I POSSIBLY CAN!!!
Yep it's terrible, I can't seem to stop myself.

I think part of it is the names you see, like "Denniston's Superb" or "Opal", "Discovery", "Fantasia", "Czar", "Heldenfinger", "Doyenne Du Comice" you get the picture...
Last year it was tropical fruit seeds, this year it's fruit trees. To date we now have 34 trees..
So what did I get? well to name a few:
Grapes, peaches, apples, pears, cherries, plums, damson, nectarine, blueberries, cranberries, gooseberries, and on and on....

I guess the names conjure up images of bounty at this time of year. Of walking through a rich orchard, plucking ripe peaches in the sunlight, gorging myself on plums and blueberries- madness
Because at this time of year there ain't no such thing mate.

Or is there?



This picture was part of our talk. It shows our landlords tunnel and what is fruiting there as i type. Yep, cornish kiwis. They begin in December and continue right through till April. So i guess things aren't so bad. Crops like these can be grown in Cornwall, doing away with fruit such as these being flown halfway across the world.
And if you think we would be doing some poor new zealand farmer out of business, well hey, they took them from China in the first place!

Pond Party

So we had our talk last weekend, it went really well. I was quite surprised to find myself being quite calm on the day, had a kind of a "let's get on with it" attitude!
The soil assocation(who were hosting it) did a great job of organising it and providing lovely locally sourced food.
It was a slow start but once we got into it, I had a great time, being able to talk about our project and especially the future of a self-reliant Cornwall! So not bad for a first-timer and after only 5 hours sleep due to our car breaking down the night before.

The next day was our action day, we were looking to put in a pond to encourage wildlife and have a definite water supply.



It was forecast for rain so not as many as expected showed up. However we did get 7 dedicated people who got stuck in. It was truly amazing how fast the work progressed in only a few hours!

It was quite cold so we had to keep moving, our new rocket stove made the tea in much shorter time than the previous one and so we would sit down and eat muffins and drink tea either in the warmth of the tunnel or outside when the sun came out.



There's only a bit more to do now.
So thanks to Steve, Martin, Mike, Rusty, Denise, Pez and Pippa for your help and company. Ye really saved my back!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

A Wee Chat

Just a note to anyone in the cornwall area, we will be giving a talk on our CSA, it's setup, how we got funding etc in Truro this Saterday the 8th of March.

It looks like being a great event. I'm a bit nervous - haven't really done public speaking before But i'm sure it will be fun.

It's part of a program initiated by the soil association: cultivating communities whose aim is to promote community agriculture and help support the setup of lots of these projects..

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Hope to see you there!