Tuesday, 16 November 2010


With everything slowing down for winter it's time to really start using the tractor to it's full potential. I can load 2-3 tons on the trailer down at Marazion, the closest beach. It's a long haul back up the hill but good old "Brogh" as he/she is called manages it no bother.

I'm hoping to get 50 tons at least on each field in time for spring to really boost the fertility. Another fact i found whilst searching is that 1.3 tons of sea sand is equivalent to 1 ton of lime,  so every time some seaweed is brought up we are bringing the ph to a better level for the plants.
Garlic is all in thank god! Ordered about 10kgs this year which with all the rain we've had was quite an effort to get in. Lots of french types, including: sultop, dario, thermidrome, jollimont, lautrec, etc.
Itt's my birthday today so will probably go and get more seaweed ;-)

Monday, 1 November 2010

Another Method...

After faffing, i mean researching on the internet, i came across this method for threshing linseed.

'In Germany shortly after the war, when most commodities were rare and expensive, a gang of four ingenious men were caught by the police after some weeks of successful theft of linseed.

'The assets of this small firm were one canvass sheet, a sickle, some sacks and a bicycle. The leader of the gang rode the bicycle to a chosen field of linseed and was met by the rest of the gang, the sheet was laid on the ground, the bicycle placed upside down in the middle of it. One man cut the linseed, one carried the crop to a man stationed at the bicycle, and one turned the peda's. The linseed was thrashed by holding it against the rear wheel spokes. ..'

The right way up, the bicycle was a simple means of transport, the wrong way up, the handle bars and saddle formed a three point stand for the thrashing machine, so that except for the front wheel and fork and tyres, almost all parts were used in both the bicycles functions. The resulting one or two sacks were of course laid on the bicycle for transport.'

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


We did our first big sowing of Linseed/Flax this year. About 3 by 100 foot strips. Quite a learning curve there..
Flax is a really tough plant which makes it great for linen and other uses but also makes it really hard to harvest!

Turns out if you are harvesting just for the linen you can pull the plants up when still green, but if you want the seeds then you cut them when they are dry. This has two problems: one is the Formerly cute little finches turn into a whirring plague and devour half your crop, and two: Flax is so tough it blunts the scythe every two or three sweeps!

So after a hard day cutting and piling the flax we had half a trailer of the stuff, so now what to do with it?

Methods varied from
beating over a chair: dramatic but messy
mashing with a rolling pin: slow but effective
jumping on it:effective but tiring
rubbing with feet:seems to be the quickest

So we have to count the yield as the seed needs to be cleaned properly, we will probably throw it up on a sheet and separate the seed from the chaff, good old biblical expression there. Once you start growing grain you realise how many expressions derive from harvesting.

Now we are looking at sowing  "Grafton" oats and "Maris Widgeon" (what a great name!) wheat

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Been a while...

Well after much messin aroun' we managed to get a new memory stick for the camera, which has promptly broken! So no images for a while folks.

Just to give an update it's been a great summer so far, our grape harvest is pretty spectacular inside the main tunnel, despite the blackbirds stuffing their beaks full!

Our garlic came along well especially, "Lautrec" which we will be planting lots of this September. Def the best year for onions. Potatoes did ok in the new field, some big ones, a lot of wire worm mores the pity so we will have to tackle that one way or another..

We now have a lot of flax/Linseed to harvest and find a use for, chicken feed? Despite the crows there will be enough oats for a few bowls of porridge and the quinoa really did well.
For anyone concerned about Quinoa crossing with "fat hen" as they are both chenopodiums, i wouldnt worry too much as once they are both starting to seed they look very different so it's easy to rip out the fat hen for your salad.

Its been raining a lot recently so bit worried about rotten grains but fingers  crossed..

Thursday, 1 July 2010


The hive beside our house decided to swarm the other day, the noise was tremendous, like a hurricane..Bees flying everywhere. Literally the whole sky above the house became this mass of darting shapes seemingly flying at random...

Unlike some beekeepers i like it when they swarm as it is their way of reproducing, and i get to have another hive!

Gradually this vast cloud of bees began to coalesce around our lovely old golden delicious apple tree beside the house. Of course the bees decided to go waaay up to the top of this tree..

So after finding a nice long ladder, banging together an emergency hive we started to work.

and in they go, thanks George for all the great shots you took, and your calm demeanor, always have a buddhist photographer nearby when you're doing this sort of thing!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Well time is going pretty fast here, the weather seems to have finally changed to one more conducive to plant growth and to begin feeling like Summer.

With everything starting to green up and get juicy fruits it's one of my favourite times of year.

As always we are trying out different enterprises and Rose has been seeing how quail fit into our lives. These are baby Italian quail, tiny tiny things only a week old. They are very cute and tame at this age and love to sleep in your hands, their favourite game is to grab some food and have the others chase them round and around the box

The first boxes are going out with the usual salad and herbs, our leeks from last year are lasting well and our peas should be ready in a week or two.

Oh and I got married last Week!

Friday, 16 April 2010

intro to CSA

Here's a nice little introduction to CSA'S and the pros and cons you get with them, of course there are more pros involved!


Friday, 12 March 2010

we plough the fields...

well john the farmer did actually but i've been harrowing away like agood thing over the last few days.
so we are going for what is large scale for us, a one acre field in a conventional way.
A used disc harrow costs about £700 so that wasen't an option now i've spent everything on the david brown now called david brogh or Brogh for short!
so i rigged meself up a custom made recycled and hand crafted harrow otherwise known as a big heavy thing to drag behind the tractor.

so what did i have around that i could use? well some telephone poles and some seatbelts we had found in a skip thinking they would come in useful one day as windbreaks or as it turns out harrow belts.

so brogh is a big help with this, and powered with biodiesel means it's much more pleasant to run. there's a bit less power on biodiesel but it doesn't make a big difference.
next step is to make/find a chain harrow and maybe rotavate before we sow linseed, oats, phacelia and rapeseed!

Friday, 29 January 2010


New just in, The Organisation I work with Penwith Environmental Network, has just been awarded £20,000 to develop 2 forest gardens! One will be beside Badger's Garden and one in Penzance at Love Lane.

This is tremendous news as it will enable us to put in 3 acres of fruit trees and plants. We can then propagate on from these plants to plant more land and provide this genetic stock to other projects in the area.

So it's going to be busy in the next few weeks, workshops to organise, trees to order, site studies, clearing bracken.

Well done to Steph who basically wrote the grant, I owe you a Purdeys!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

My new workers

Looking round at the state of the garden it would be great to get these guys in for a few days, or is that minutes?