As the year turns, we’re now well and truly in the time of high summer and harvest. This year’s heat and lack of rain means the gardens are very dry so the volunteers have been doing a great deal of watering. Squashes are just starting to ripen and will be on sale from next week. We have potted herbs for sale, sown and grown by the Herbs for Health group. The fruit trees and bushes are fruiting early this year so don’t miss out! Ask staff if you’d like to pick your own.
The two new piglets are now going outside 4 days a week day into the cool forest pig pen; they are enjoying seeing all the visitors.
The new chicken run is a great success there is lots of interest and food for the chickens and squashes and meadow plants growing naturally.
We have a set aside the pig pen near the ducks this year, and it has attracted frogs and toads. This is due to the wild plants such as Mugwort and Goosefoot growing there, creating damp conditions underneath and this has helped them get through this dry time.
Bumble and Honey bees are loving the artichokes and sunflowers.
Honey will be on sale from September.
We have goat meat, sausages and bacon for sale
Looking forward to seeing you all on the 22nd August for the celebration.
This week Sunday Farm Hands got really experimental with the herbs growing on the farm. Here on of them tells us all about it in their own words……
First we went to the garden to try some herbs. We smelt them and tasted them. I really liked the sage, it was hard and chewy with a flavour I really liked. The herbs we tried were (clockwise from the top) parsley, rosemary, fennel, sage, marjoram and chives. After that we washed them and put them in cups with some beaten egg and popped them in the microwave for about 30 seconds to make mini omelettes . We then put them in two bowls and ate them all up! Sage was still a favourite, but I also really liked the marjoram. Then we took some cuttings from the herbs and took them to the polytunnel and put them in plant pots, to make new plants. We also took some plants home for cooking . After that I filled up some watering cans and watered some plants near the polytunnel. At the end we went to put the guinea pigs and chickens away. I carried a chicken and a guinea pig into the barn.
Paul has been volunteering with us for 5 months. He helps with farm maintenance such as fencing, cutting the grass, cutting weeds back and painting. He’s recently done a great job painting our vegetable stall, guinea pig run and the front gate.
Paul says volunteering on the farm has really helped his peace of mind. He much prefers to be out in the fresh air and he likes to have a job that he can see makes a difference. For example he loves it when he can see people enjoying Community Orchard after he’s cut the grass. It’s important to him to be able to a job that he can work of from start to finish.
Paul loves volunteering at the farm as it’s a nice place to come and visit and he can see life carryng on all around him.
All of the work that Michelle and Scott have put in during late winter and early spring is already paying off. As the soil warms up, they have been sowing radish and beetroot seeds directly into the ground. These are fast growing plants, and the radish are ready to harvest already! If you’d like some, simply as a member of staff.
They’ve also been raising lots of plants in the poly tunnel. Some of these, such as cosmos, sunflowers, lambs tails, tomato and squash plants are for sale. Some of them have been planted in the beds.
We are really looking forward to eating some delicous vegetables in the summer!
Michelle and Scott have been working hard redesigning and reorganising our vegetable gardens. They began by taking apart a few of the old raised beds, saving the soil and giving all the weeds to the chickens. Afterwards they laid membrane down to help supress weeds and stop them growing up into the beds. This works as most weed seeds need light to germinate, this is why they grow on disturbed soil.
They then rebuilt the sides of the raised beds, using new wood and refilled them with the soil, plus some extra well rotted manure. This provides nutrients for the growing plants. Soon – as the soil warms up and spring gets underway, they will sow some vegetables.
Well done Michelle and Scott – we will look forward to lots of delicious vegetables.
Scott and Richard getting the wood for the raised beds
Michelle has been coming to the farm for over a year. She does amazing work with Scott. She loves to do a variety of jobs during her morning with us, but says she also looks forward to her tea break! Michelle does a great deal of gardening including weeding, sowing seeds, potting on and watering the plants. She is very good at knowing which plants need watering and which plants are weeds. Her favourite jobs are collecting the eggs and feeding weeds to the chickens and pigs.
Ben has been volunteering with us since last autumn. He started coming to Green Woodworking on a Monday, and subsequently became interested in volunteering for the Farm. Ben works in the woodland, and also with the animals. He has worked in the orchard strimming the grass.
He is also doing the John Muir Award. The John Muir Award is an environmental award scheme focused on wild places. It encourages awareness and responsibility for the natural environment, in a spirit of fun, adventure and exploration. As part of the award Ben is identifying flowering plants in Water Vole Woodland. He feels that it is important to learn to identify plants as we can then ‘understand the world we live in better.’ He also thinks that ‘in this commercial world it is good to know where things come from’ for example wood and the plants that medicines are derived from. Ben is going going to share his growing knowledge with other people through posts on Facebook, a chart in the volunteer cabin and maybe some leafeltes or an information board.
Ben likes working on the Farm and feels more confident than he used to as he can help with things. He thinks that it is good to deal with food production and animals as these things are ‘the basics of life.’
Ben also feels like he is helping with his local community and has met lots of new people in a friendly atmosphere. He really enjoys volunteering.
As the season slides from high Summer into early Autumn, so the produce available from the garden changes. In the Farm’s garden we currently have courgettes, beetroot, Turk’s Turban and some large green squashes. This glorious Indian Summer is ripening up the tomatoes and squashes, which were a bit behind due the stormy and cooler weather in August.
We also have some lovely beetroot – which is delicious raw grated into salads, roasted or boiled.
We have grown some unusual black french beans, which make an interesting addition to salads or on their own as a side dish with butter or olive oil.
Some flowers come into their own at this time of year. Ice plant or sedums provide late season nectar for butterflies, bees and other insects, so are always a pretty and useful addition to any garden.
If you’d like to volunteer as a gardener either with vegetables or in the wildlife garden please ring Ian on 01179381128 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org