OK I admit it! It was my bright idea in the cycle group going to this week’s CropShare to take the “scenic” route….. which turned into the REALLY MUDDY route. Sooooorry guys…..
Wasn’t that bad, right?
Bit of mud does you nowt but good! After that ordeal, and a cup of tea, we got down to planting crops for overwintering, garlic bulbs and onion sets were up first. These will both be ready to harvest early next summer. All planted right way up, tips just sticking out of the soil, about a hoe blade’s width apart in the beds marked out by Paul in the tractor. We did three beds of each in a flash as there were so many of us – job done!
Garlic cloves to be planted
CropSharer’s also got to have a lovely ride on the tractor’s planting machine, dropping in broad bean seeds onto the conveyor belt. Another crop that will be ready early next summer- looking forward to broad bean salads already!
Using the tractor-mounted planter to plant broad bean seeds
Paul’s aiming to fill the farm’s hungry gap early next year, where there’s normally a bit of a sparse harvest before the spring crops come through. His tactic is keeping on planting things like winter cabbage and kale now, that will overwinter and be ready for harvest early next year. We planted some red cabbage seedlings out in the field today, again on the back of the tractor. Could get used to sitting up there!
Red cabbage seedlings at the front, colourful lettuces at the back
The breeze had definately turned more chilly, and so we retreated to the comfort of the polytunnel that CropSharers helped to put up earlier this year.We sowed some pak choi and winter lettuce seeds, which will be planted up in the polytunnels to give fresh leaves through the winter months. We used a mixture of sand (for added drainage) and the farm’s own peat-rich fen soil to fill module trays for the seed. Was a right challenge to only put one tiny tiny seed into each module. My hand was locked into a claw position for 20 mins afterwards.
Hanging out in one of the polytunnels
Sowing winter salads into module trays
MORE TINY SEED
Luckily regained full control of my hands in time for lunch! Now there was a bit of excitement, more than usual, this lunchtime as CropSharer Reggie had brought along a charming device that peels and cores an apple and cuts it into a spiral all at same time! Has to be seen to be believed:
Apparently Stephen Fry has one of these??
As well as eating the apple, we got creative with the strips of peel… it is Movember after all.
Food was amazing as per usual- who would expect anything less of a CropShare lunch now?
Check out the cake platter! Thanks Sue 🙂
Lovely warming harlequin squash soup from Farmer Paul and Farmer Doreen, and there was a great apple strudel from Axel using the CropShare apples, of course, harvested by us a few weeks ago.
Pass the apple strudel mate!
And lovely Apple and cider butter from Reggie, again a recipe making the most of our apple harvest.
I always love the preserves people bring along!
Lunch in the farm kitchen
I had a sneaky peek in the polytunnel where the onions we harvested at the end of October are being stored. All drying out nicely, and there’s some right whoppers in there!
Got enough onions there?
We spent a sunny afternoon weeding onions we planted from sets last month, winter salads in the field and leeks.
Hoeing onions grown from sets
Weedin’, just weedin’
And let’s finish with an exciting project alert: CropSharer Jacky’s day job is at her shop The Cambridge Cheese Company. As well as cheese, she sells a range of homemade preserves AND will be making an exclusive batch of CropShare Chutney from our apples and onions! You can get a taste the fruits of our labours and support CropShare by buying a jar from her shop on All Saints Passage. Cheers Jacky!
Jason and Jacky with the apples and onions for the CropShare Chutney