Written by Paula, one of The Plot FarmStart Trainees’
Early September at the farm it got so hot it wasn’t only the plants that enjoyed the sprinkler!! By late September we were not only inside (polytunnel), but outside in pouring rain and hail driven by winds, along with the return of the water-logged muddy conditions our farming experience began with. The past season’s foliage dying back, and yet over-winter crops being sown and planted.
Stepping into the polytunnel, feeling its warm embrace, shedding the coat needed for setting out that morning; within minutes torrential rain pounding on plastic, loud enough to drown out communications as Tamsin and I picked juicy ripened tomatoes. (Remembering not to pick the ones being saved for seeds). The tomatoes then taken fresh to The Plot ready for our customers.
September revealed evidence of a much larger creature than a caterpillar nibbling into its evidently favourite snack – the cavolo Nero kale! Was it the ‘beetroot’ bunny? Many things keep us guessing, inspiring many a conversation. What caused the Gooseberry mutilation!?
On a very busy day of picking, in a moment of escapism, Lucy and I celebrated Sam’s birthday with a giant chocolate-button mouthful rendition of “happy birthday to you”, which briefly took our minds off the fact we now had it all to pack! Not that any of us for a moment wish to escape doing this amazing work and service for the local community. Hard work, yes; worth it, absolutely! Especially so when some customers who liked our salads so much came to see where it was grown for themselves!
Not everything directly involves planting and picking, as there are many necessary jobs that help promote and maintain their growth. The canes that had been intrinsically woven together in May for the beans, for example, now suffer damage from strong winds and need mending. Along with volunteers too, it’s all hands-on bed as the fences that supported the peas are now taken up and the beds prepared with green manure for the coming year.
The cooling off of Autumn has its blessings: though I am delighted and excited they were around in their hosts during the Summer, it’s now possible to plunge the hand in among the nasturtium flowers (to decorate our salads with their glorious colours and taste), and not have to wrestle for one with just about every type of buzzing bee!!