Denis Touliatos is a grower and trainer at the Plot – FoodFutures’ own veg-growing site.

The relentless rains have seen me work the land wearing heavy-duty fisherman’s waterproofs (and still the wellies are only just high enough)! The Plot’s site at Old Holly farm in Garstang is more waterlogged than I have ever seen; this means we have to raise the height of growing beds and are going to be late with cultivating and planting the summer crops. It’s simply too wet for cultivating, as this can damage the soil. We are forced to be creative and make greater use of our drier indoor growing spaces – two polytunnels at our White Lund site.

Despite this challenging start to the season, it’s always a joy to see little seedlings emerge from the thousands of seeds we are now sowing each week. The Plot’s two sites are also becoming a classroom and a playground for this season’s FarmStarters – those eager souls looking to sow their futures in the soil.

In the warm, dry sanctuary of the polytunnels, you can find young cucumbers learning to climb, and peppers, basil and tomatoes growing in pots and waiting to be transplanted when the soil is warm enough. While outside at Old Holly Farm, the lettuce plants and overwintered leeks are symbols of resilience.

The onions have taken well to the wet soil and their bulbs will soon start forming just above the surface. Ten varieties of potato, bought at Lancaster’s annual Potato Day event (always the last Saturday in January), have been planted inside and outside with hope. They offer a lesson in trust, a belief that beneath the soil, a bountiful harvest is forming.

With all these new shoots, faces, and challenges, I am reminded of the cycle of the seasons and with them the cycle of learning. Each FarmStarter who plants a seed here is planting a part of themselves, and in turn, they are growing alongside their crops.

Each FarmStart trainee writes an introductory piece about their experience at the Plot, the things they are learning, and why they joined this training opportunity. You can read their articles to gain a more personal insight into the work at the Plot on the Plot’s webpage.

Find out more
Head to the same webpage to discover more about produce from the Plot and the volunteering and training opportunities.

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