Little Things and Big Things

Let’s start off with a little thing. Hoping around the poly tunnel yesterday was one of amphibious friends.  It has found its own way there because it knows the climate is right and it will find a source of food in the form of slugs and other things that we don’t like in our poly tunnel. Little one, you are very welcome, we will always have a place for you.

Moving up the scale, twin lambs arrived. Both boys, they are doing well and this picture was taken twenty minutes after they were born.

There is a time when you need to bring in the big boys if you want to make things happen fast and that is the position that I have found myself in. I want to use the minimum of carbon in my growing,  but I also need to get some results from our growing now, this season.

The crazy economics of the world and the way we have to live our lives means that time costs and we cannot always take the time we would like to when making an area fertile for growing food. Loosing all our brand new tractor equipment in the fire last week has also had its impact.

I had to bring in a contractor and in less than an hour we had a lot of ground opened up for growing. Once opened up and turned into growing beds, the small two wheel tractor will be all we need for future growing. Using only a small tank of fuel is needed to run it all day, this will have a much smaller carbon footprint. Using permanent growing beds will also mean that much of the work in the future can be done with hand tools.

There is still going to be lots of work needed to get the plots up and growing but at least we now have a fighting chance.

Turning the rough ploughed land into nice beds fit for sowing and planting will still take lots of work. By the time I finished on Wednesday night, three quarters of it had been rotavated in and we now have a decent amount of growing area to be working with for this season.

Six hours behind  a bucking and bronking two wheel tractor will take its toll and I know I will be stiff by tomorrow but it will all have been worth it. Let’s hope the weather holds so we can get it all finished on Friday.

On the left of this image is the freshly ploughed land and on the right, the smooth rotavated soil in which we will form new growing beds.

One Month In

My first month as Greenslate Grower has ended and I have really enjoyed it. The team working on the farm have been very welcoming and have given me a free hand to get the crop growing operation started.

What’s happening on the farm is inspirational, I feel that this small scale community growing project has come of age and is making a huge difference in many peoples lives.

Let’s face it, there is lots of worrying stuff going on in the world at the moment that can leave you feeling helpless, cast adrift on a stormy sea of uncertainty. Well there is one thing that we all can do, reach out to our community and make sure that our own part of the world hasn’t forgotten what humanity is all about.

The Long Term Plan

I see my mission at Greenslate to be very much in line with its ‘Transitional’ roots of providing local food to the local community and bringing money into the local economy rather than spreading it to national and international corporations; ambitious plans indeed.

For me, success in the first year will be to get the café and farm shop stocked with fresh produce grown on site. Forget food miles, think food yards (or metres if you prefer).

On a practical level, much of the work so far has been planning the creation of a one acre market garden. It is an exciting process and I feel incredibly lucky to be given this opportunity. At the same time, it feels a little scary as there is so much to be done.

Roger Buckner trialled some growing on the farm last year with some success and we will build on that this season.

The soil is much sandier here that I would have thought but it seems to have a good balance between sand, silt and clay. The samples that I have looked at seem low in organic matter but this can be worked on. A pH of 6.5 is also a good place to be starting for growing the wide range of crops that we need.

At the moment we are sowing onions and we will soon be starting our tomatoes.

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