A personal account by Shona, FarmStart trainee
I recently enjoyed an evening watering newly planted salad leaves, herbs, spinach, beetroot, edible flowers, kale and cabbages. All grown from seed, viewed against a warm setting sun and a newly erected compost shed. The Plot is continually changing, forever hinting at the abundance to come. Already the change, over a few weeks, is astonishing.
We have gone from fields of bare soil to an array of beds filled with vegetables of different colours and many shades of green, from sparse over-wintering plants with little growth, to the assurance of lush foliage and tasty crops. Working on the land never ceases to surprise or reward and I can say without doubt that the Plot has become my happy place. Watering in the evening is a chance to take stock, to stand back and admire the progress, as well as a fitting end to the rhythmic flow of the day that takes its lead from the cycles of the season.
The transition to new life and the growth of spring, in direct contrast to the sparseness and inward looking quality of winter, that has become increasingly distant, is very apparent at the Plot, where the seasons are laid bare to experience. Spring represents expansiveness and air. It is the time I become re-acquainted with the language of birdsong, the return of swifts and all that new beginnings promise.
Growth happens in fits and starts and we eagerly check progress each day on the Plot, aware that it remains precarious and somewhat weather dependent until our plants have firmly rooted and developed greater resistance. There is so much to observe and even more to trust: that we have done the work needed to get to this point, that nature will provide, the sun will continue to shine followed by enough but not too much rain. There is also great excitement and a developing connection to the land as I and my fellow FarmStarters also root and become increasingly grounded.
Staying in tune with the cycles of life that each season gifts us, is essential to maintain the natural flow of things; to ensure the promise of abundance and a bountiful harvest. And of course, it already tastes good!