A personal account by Andy, a FarmStart trainee
It’s already week 9 of the FarmStart traineeship programme, blimey, and so much has happened! Spring is here, winter has been banished. The swallows have returned, basking in the Lancashire sun. The thrushes and black birds already acting as our best pest control. Small scale farming is all about people, and they are certainly the foundation of what makes The Plot work so well. There are four trainees this year: Andy (me!), Jo, Mark and Rashid. We’ve said goodbye to Tamsin (grower extraordinaire who has made The Plot what it is today), and said hello to Dennis (who helped to set up Claver Hill, so we’re in good hands!). Helping with the transition will be Sam, our 2021 FarmStarter, who has joined as a seasonal grower.
A natural rhythm has started to appear at The Plot: each week from now until October, we’ll be preparing our organic, seasonal cropshare boxes; we’re sowing hundreds of seeds (from the tiny (purslane) to the large (pumpkin seeds)); and we’ve done plenty of digging, harvesting, and watering. We’ve also learnt a lot from our expert grower, James from Growing Well. From cultivation, and soil fertility, right through to crop planning and harvesting. It’s been a steep learning curve but our learning is starting to bear fruit, what with our apple tree grafts starting to blossom (thanks to Rod Everett for the knowledge and patience) and our first direct sown seeds starting to be harvested (radishes are a welcome boost during the hungry gap).
There’s a lot to do going forward. We need to dig a lot of holes for our maturing tomato plants. At our Old Holly site in Garstang, we’ve taken on one more acre that has been ploughed and harrowed, and now needs to be turned into beds for growing. We need more hands, so if you’re up for doing some digging, moving compost or have a spare wheelbarrow then please do get in touch. If that’s not for you, fear not, as we have plenty lined up for you. There will be farm tours where you can meet our growers, and we’ll be running training courses over the summer that cover different aspects of growing. If you want to support us, you can buy veg via the Open Food Network (order by Wednesday for Friday collection), join our cropshare waiting list to receive a weekly veg box or become a supporter via our Food Friend scheme.
If anyone of this sounds interesting, please contact Ellen at email@example.com