A personal account by Dennis, the Grower and FarmStart Trainer at the Plot
I always admired the traditional morals and wisdom of proverbs and how they reconnect us with the land and sea, the seasons, and our culture.
There is an old Greek proverb about March that goes like this “Μάρτης γδάρτης και κακός παλουκοκαύτης” (“Martis gdartis kai kakos paluko kaftis”) which translates into something like “March can be painfully cold and you could end up burning the wooden fences of your house to keep warm”.
The proverb is a warning for the often unexpected cold weather of the first month of spring which in the past forced people to burn even the palukia i.e. the wooden fences of their houses, to keep warm; having exhausted the household fuel reserves of the previous winter. It aimed to remind people to be prepared and to store some firewood for March and to not be fooled by a few warm and sunny days, as a drop in temperatures is just around the corner.
March in the Northwest of England is no different, there is rain and freezing winds and then sunshine and warmth, and then snow followed by sunshine again and rain, and then the rainbow….
At The Plot, since mid-March, we have been constantly contemplating whether and when to get some of our seedlings planted out. Is it going to be too cold for the little spinach and lettuce plants? Will some fleece keep them warm in the field? Will the peas handle the transitions between cold and warm in the field or are they better off in the polytunnel until April? Some days were warmish and fine and some frosty and wet.
We‘ve been growing impatient with itchy fingers, sowing seeds and preparing since February. As we slowly-slowly approach spring we can’t wait to see our crops growing in the fields, to start preparing crop-share boxes with super-fresh, locally grown organic veg for our members, and to have another year filled with abundance and the hope of a strong, just, thriving local food system in North Lancashire.
This March our team at The Plot grew bigger as we were joined by six enthusiastic FarmStarters. The group of local new entrants to Agroecology will join us for the whole season as they delve into the challenges and opportunities of running a commercial organic farm, preparing them to play an active role in setting up new local food-growing enterprises around North Lancashire. The FarmStarters will be spending two days a week at The Plot and will be given a dedicated training and mentoring program covering both the horticultural skills and business skills needed to set up and run a commercial organic farm.