Well it feels like years since I last posted anything. It seems that there is just never enough time to do this when there are always things to fix, plants to plant, weeds to pull and veg to deliver.
I’ll lay out the bullet points that I can remember here and then fill them out.
This is Dave, who is using a tool I made quite a while ago. It’s called a Broadfork, and is basically just a broad fork, with long tines, and 2 really long handles. I added wooden handles initially but they broke within the first few minutes, so now it weighs a tonne due to the metal handles (which used to be a hand rail).
Broadforking is often thought of as vital in a market garden. I’d never used one until recently, and thought it wasn’t necessary when the compost was super deep. Now it’s settled quite a bit, and it’s obvious when dibbing holes, that the ground underneath is quite compacted. This broadfork is a remedy to this, as it stabs the tines deep into the soil, and loosens it without turning it over. I can honestly say, that the results astounded me! I’d got used to the hard compact soil under the top layer of compost, and after a broadforking and a going over with Pete’s wheel hoe – it now feels like a dream to plant! I unfortunately broke it again, and so need a few hours and plenty of sun to fix it (more on that later).
This guy literally wrote the book on market gardening. I read it many years ago, and followed his youtube channel, and he is a giant in his field. I had the pleasure of joining a 2 day event at Soul Farm, where dozens of market growers came to connect, and learn together. I must be honest, I got a little star struck, but plucked up the courage to speak to him before the end. No selfies though.
Thanks to the volunteers and members who came for a picnic last weekend! It was nice to sit in the grass, near the beds that will feed us next year, and eat some food and drink a little home-made cucumber and parsnip wine.
I’m not really much of a host, and so a picnic seemed like he easiest and most chilled gathering there is, and I’m grateful to those who attended and who sent their best wishes. I don’t know why the prospect of hosting something made me so nervous! The punch certainly helped.
Thanks to Food Troops and CN4C, we had 2 gatherings of Chutney Club where we made loads of chutney, some pickle, and even a chilli sauce!
It was nice to get people together and to make something from all this veg, and I look forward to many more Chutney Club gatherings in future. The first rule of Chutney Club is – bring a jar!
New Tomato Variety Bred Itself!
The Here we have a hybrid tomato that bred itself! Many plants cross-pollenate, but tomatoes are generally self-pollenating. This means the flower pollenates itself, and so breeding one type of tomato with another usually requires some effort. Not in this case! The top left is a “Peche Vilmorin De Andrieux”, stuffing tomato. The top and bottom right, is a “Marmande” beefsteak. What we have on the bottom left, is a hybrid of the two! So it is a new peach coloured, beefsteak tomato, and this means – we get to name it! I am collating answers as we speak so please send your ideas in by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here we have Abigail, a local volunteer, using metalwork tools for the first time, in out attempt to fix the broken broadfork. In fact, I think this pic was cutting metal for building the next version of broadfork, but you get the idea. It’s fun to do everything from scratch, but quite challenging – but there’s always something to do. So much to fix! The natural entropy of life is always catching up with us in some way or another.
I really have to stop typing now. I remembered loads more stuff that’s happened, and I can’t keep you any longer! Thanks for reading. x