A personal account by Dennis, Grower at the Plot
July has been a month of transitions and transformations at The Plot. We transitioned from the hungry gap (late spring – early summer), when it’s too warm for hardy winter crops and too cold for summer crops, into the abundance of the Lancashire summer. Our crops have been hugely benefited from the changeability in weather patterns, from sun and heat to rain; in both our growing fields at Old Holly Farm and the protected cropping facilities at White Lund.
In the polytunnel we started clearing more area for the summer crops. We replaced the winter salads, mustards and herbs with more tomatoes and basil and we trimmed down the perennial wild rocket to help it regenerate new shoots for the summer. We have been training our tomatoes and cucumbers with string and started harvesting the first tomatoes and cucumbers of the season.
At Old Holly Farm we have been harvesting edible nasturtium and borage flowers for our organic mixed leaf salads and our first organic carrots and organic broad beans of the season made their appearance in our crop-share boxes in July. We have been preparing more land to plant runner and french beans and we are using our newly bought second-hand rotavator to incorporate more organic matter into the soil – to improve its nutrient content and structure. Many thanks to our FoodFriends for funding the rotavator purchase!
We have also been transforming our two new paddocks at Old Holly Farm into organic market gardens. We made a start by strimming all the weeds and grasses and leaving them on the ground, to decompose and increase our soil fertility.
In parallel, transitions and transformations have been taking place within the people themselves at The Plot. Our FarmStarters (new entrants to agroecology who spend two days a week at The Plot to train as commercial organic growers) are in their 5th month of their journey and they are gaining a good grasp of what it means to be a commercial organic grower. Their speed of harvesting and packing crops, which is one of the most important skills that one needs to master along with understanding the different needs that crops have, has increased significantly.
It has been a real pleasure to observe these transformations taking place at The Plot. And I have been once again, humbled when realising how hard but also how rewarding it is to produce our food from the land.