Spring has brought much joy and hope and exhaustion. The list is never ending and I find myself yearning for those long winter days I had scoffed at in my previous newsletters. But there is so much good. The leaves now scatter the trees in an impressionistic landscape of foliage, dotted with cherry blossoms and bright pastoral colours, and floating amongst the soft wind, the many whistles of birdsong. There is life again and as the weather warms, we find ourselves being responsible for more and more of it as the garden grows in abundance. There are now crops to pick and eat whilst wandering the paths and others, of which we'll tend for many more months, until the green turns auburn once more and the 'harvest' season begins, when the garden is at its most bountiful and our long season crops will be pulled for storage. This time of Spring is a crucial part of the season where we begin planting out crops that are well past their sowing window, and so must be cared for with great tact. In the top field, onions, leek, cabbages, kale, potatoes, garlic and direct-sown carrots will soon be joined by almost 600 sunflowers. A sure sign that summer is well on it's way!
The detailed crop plan that Jon spent many days developing throughout winter has given us a much needed routine of sowing and planting crops. Successions (seeding in regular stages) are becoming ever more important as the weather, less predictable. Even with it, there is a whole section for notes that are filled to the brim with useful insight. "Low germination, seed more and leave on heat longer", "Too early/left on heat beds too long. No beds prepped in top field as too wet", "Not actually seeded until late March, too busy"... As I read through them, it's easy to feel helpless sometimes. Routine is all well and good, but routine does not go hand in hand with the complex, ever-changing, delicate but powerful forces of nature. To live and work on the every whim of this fragile eco-system is to constantly be on your toes. Hose pipe in one hand, oil-skin in the other and a bucket for slugs to boot.
Despite it all, the sun always rises, and though we're never finished learning, we really feel a sense of settling in; to the land, to our lives, to the roles that we share and to this thing that we have created. The market garden as a physical entity is why we are here, but there is so much more to it. Our volunteers, for one, will be joining us in a few week's time to learn with us all aspects of organic growing and as our online platform grows too, we feel we have more responsibility to share the importance and realities of farming. By way of sharing and expressing our connection to the natural world, Yada has been recording a few folk songs, centred around the month of May, that will be played as part of 'PAST-ORAL', an open exhibition of work by artists, farmers and landworkers. The free event at Lower Hewood Farm is part of Dorset Art Weeks 2021 and will run over ten dates between May 22nd and June 6th. Read more and book your free place on Eventbrite here. As we continue through our third season on this land, we hope that you might consider supporting us and joining our Community Supported Agriculture Veg Share Scheme. About our CSA Our Full Season CSA runs from late Spring until late Autumn, and features over 100 varieties of delicious vegetables over the three seasons. Each week, you will receive a share of the best produce, carefully chosen by us and picked fresh on that same morning. More than a veg box scheme, our CSA is a co-created food community that is equally beneficial for all, connecting you with the people who grow your food.
Photos from Spring CSA shares
As a CSA member, you will:
Secure a full season of carefully chosen varieties of nutrient dense, organic vegetables each week
Enjoy food that is free from harmful sprays, aquaponics and grow lights
Receive a weekly farm newsletter, including the contents of that week's CSA share
Get creative ideas and recipes using our produce and be a part of our CSA community
Support small scale, ecological farming and get to know your local growers
Help us to protect and benefit the environment by encouraging diverse wildlife, using little fossil fuels and sustaining soil health, whilst supplying produce that has only travelled the small distance from our farm to your plate
Join us for market garden tours and events on the farm (when circumstances allow)
That's all from us for now. We wish you a wonderful May, and onwards into the season. Warm wishes, Yada & Jon