We had fun at our latest CropShare farm day sowing seeds and planting plants in massive numbers as it gets up to the busiest time of year for the farm. CropSharers also fed the farm’s youngest lamb and we kept ourselves busy collecting eggs, hoeing and planting.

Sowing squash seeds into modules

We had a hard-working seed crew who sowed out a few thousand seeds into module trays! Once grown the plants will be put in the field after it warms up, and get a head start over the weeds.

 

The detailed stats are that the seed crew sowed 1000 squash, 750 courgette and 4000 cabbage seeds…good going!

 

 

Meanwhile at the broad beans, sown by CropSharers successionally since last autumn, we cleared weeds by hoeing it good and proper.

Broad bean field

Ben gets stuck in hoeing the broad beans

Bean hoeing crew

Oh hello, how do you do? Fancy meeting you in the bean field

And we also found uses for some weeds… here we are sporting the season’s must have scentless mayweed moustache.

Very sophisticated CropShare crowd

There’s something different about Farmer Doreen I cant put my finger on it…

Our CropSharers are a canny bunch and loads of them noticed that there are potato plants springing up next to the broad beans.

Spot the potato plant…

There were potatoes in this field last year, so some tubers that got missed in the harvest are starting to send up new growth now. In our own gardens or allotments you could leave these and harvest them, but it gets a bit fiddly on a field scale to manage bits and bobs of crops all over.

Spot the potato again…CropSharer precision hoeing in action

Plus any carry over of potato pests or viruses on these random potatoes will mess up the rotation- the land needs a rest from growing spuds for a few years to get the best yield. So these volunteer potatoes, leftovers from last year, were hoed up as well. Soz potatoes its a cruel world!

Planning a polyveg bed, Photo Naturewise London Permaculture

If you are interested in Polyveg (or Polyculture)- a permaculture technique of growing lots of veggies together, which works really well in allotments and gardens, check out this article in the Permaculture Magazine ( @PermacultureMag on Twitter) and the Permaculture Association’s advice. In Cambridge there’s some polyveg beds on Dave Fox’s allotment which you can see and tend if you join in on the Transition Cambridge Grow Your Own project throughout the season.

Philosophising whilst hoeing: thoughtful.

Bang! and the weeds are gone!

The autumn sown broad beans are quickly developing, and have flowers and small pods forming. Woop!!

Overwintered broad bean plant growing strongly

Broad bean flowers

The flowers are bee pollinated, CropSharer Dave kindly gave the farm a honey bee swarm last year, see the great video of him moving the bees into their new home on the farm here. Unfortunately those bees didn’t survive the harsh extended wintery weather we had this year, but we will persevere with another hive this year!

Small broad bean pods growing! (Can you see it, its the green thing next to the other green bit)

CropSharers also had fun on the tractor mounted planter, storming through and planting 6000 leek, 2000 spring onion and 2000 brassica plants. Pretty good going ay?! Well done guys!

Farmer Paul goes through how to use the planting machine with CropSharers

First couple of 1000 done by now! Planting leeks.

Looking a bit windswept on the planter, cmon guys only 3000 more plants to do…;-)

We’ve posted videos before of how this machine works, CropSharers load plug plants from modules (or seeds) onto a conveyor belt. If you’re interested in how this machine works at the back end, here’s a video of brassica plants being pressed into the earth by the 2 wheels underneath each of the CropSharers’ seats on the machine. Clever bit of kit!

Cambridge CropShare Planting cabbages by machine

Then of course is was time to feed the farm’s littlest lamb, Milly. She’s feeding more from her mum now when her big brothers let her have a look in, and eating more grass. Go Milly!

Feeding Milly the little lamb

Milly’s grown up brothers and mum

Feeding the little lamb Milly

Also on the farm there are 2 friendly ferrets that are very popular to play with!

Ferret play time, yay!

Here’s friendly ferret!

I love ferrets! Here’s a video of ferret antics filmed by CropSharer Matt:

Cambridge Cropshare: Ferret on the Farm

Woah there little missy

It’s ferret time!

CropSharers are always rewarded for their hard work on the farm with some seasonal fruit/veggies and spending time with the farm animals.

Farmer Doreen with strawberry plants for CropSharers to take away today

Farmer Doreen hands out the reward veg to CropSharers

Today CropSharers got to take away some Korona variety of strawberry plants and bunches of some very tasty brassica sprouts. Taste great steamed!

Brassica sprouts – a tasty reward for the CropSharers today

Time to collect some well earned rewards

Lunchtime, lunchtime, lunchtime. It keeps getting better and better!

CropSharers grabbing their delicious shared lunch

Such a good and colourful lunch today!

Farmer Doreen’s hot soup with fresh farm veggies, and loads and loads of different dishes from CropSharers to try. Thanks guys!

Yummy farm veg soup

And the deserts this time… OMG

Yvonne’s lime chocolate cheesecake…..

CropShare desert smorgasbord for full flavour effect

Axel’s Rhubarb crumble custard cake……

Farmer Doreen and me (Helen) also tried out some games we are thinking to put on for this years Harvest Party, OR NOT. I wonder if the “Potato bag on head race” will catch on….erm…Don’t try this at home kids.

Don’t ask….

Potato-bag-on-head-racing- surely a contender for the next sport to be added to the Olympics

Fun on the farm!

Farmer Doreen is training her horse Larry to pull a small trap, he’s not ready yet but in the mean time trap rides are still fun for the kids with Farmer Doreen at the reins!

 

Having a ride in the trap

Don’t forget you can follow either @CamCropShare or @waterlanderman on twitter to get up to date farm gossip.

Thanks to Matt, Ben and Axel for great photos and videos of today! See you on the farm soon!