With the solstice coming in less then a fortnight, we have been watching the movement of light across the back of our house shed and designing a glass house to make the best use of the low winter sun. Last year we found the poly tunnel at times too cold for starting some of the cold sensitive plants...and we also ran out of space. The glass house will give us a warmer place to start seeds and the poly tunnel will be used as the nursery for the cold loving seedlings in the late winter early spring. Only 12 more days before the sun heads back to our side of the planet. Our seeding for the next growing season begins again in the middle of July.
We finished 26 weeks of our CSA season in May. It was a great season for us as growers. We trialed intensive market gardening techniques and new and different varieties of vegetables, provided a box of vegetables and fruit each week for local families and really enjoyed feeling supported by our CSA members.
We still have plenty of plants producing lovely Winter vegetables (see below pictures) - so we will be heading to the Boneo Market (cnr Limestone and Boneo Rds) on Saturday 15 June from 7:30-1:00.
We will have the following items for sale at the market: Golden Turnips- White Cauliflower - Coloured Cauliflower - Romanesco Broccoli - Broccoli - Purple Savoy Cabbage - Green Cabbage - Red Cabbage - Beetroot - Buttercrunch Lettuce - Perella Rougette Lettuce - Brown Cos Lettuce - Tatsoi - Bok Choy (red and Green) - Mibuna - Snow Pea - Sugar Snap Peas - Kale bunches - Silverbeat bunches - Coriander - Parsley
Past and present CSA members will receive a 10% discount at the market.
In addition to selling produce we will be trying to spread the word about local food and CSA farms! Up until now, all of the food we grow has been divided between CSA members and when there is surplus beyond what we think families can use, to the local soup kitchen. We are looking forward to having the market time to share our produce with more people and spread the word about nutrient dense, locally grown produce and small scale, diverse agriculture!
Last year after hearing a prep class in the grocery store singing in unison, " Single file through the aisle. This is where our food comes from.", I thought several expletives, went home and contacted one of our local primary schools, offering to host the whole school on our farm. The school accepted and made the term two focus an investigation into plants. We have written a post about the school's visit and will send that out as soon as we have the approval of a few more parents to use photos that include the children.
We had our first Wwoofer (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) stay for two weeks at the end of May. Mel Turnbull was a great help with the school tours and the final two weeks of the CSA. We wish her all the best on her journeys!
In addition to building the glasshouse, Peter is also designing a moveable polytunnel that will be used through the growing season to provide extra protection from hail to early spring greens, warm the soil to germinate carrots a bit sooner in the early spring, late frost protection for some of the warm weather crops, a structure to trellis field tomatoes, frost protection in the Autumn and possibly a winter hideaway for chickens. This greenhouse will not be heated and could make up to six moves in a growing season allowing the soil to be constantly kept full of hummus and in touch still with the natural cycle. We are also thinking that the poly tunnel may provide us a structure that we can pull shade cloth across if there are times of extreme heat like last summer.
We are enjoying some inside time during the welcome rain of Winter, too. This is a great time of year to plan the crops for next season, order seeds, catch up on our book work and do a bit of winter reading! I am loving the book Soil and Sense written in 1941. The concepts of how to keep soil healthy were embedded into farm land deeds and if you depleted your soil you were called a "land robber". Even 73 years ago, chemical fertilizers were not delivering on their promises of higher yield. Farmers were turning to "an older way of conserving fertility". I wonder how farmers are still being seduced by the newest inventions to increase yield...such as GMO crops...only to find that the claims again were false. Healthy soil still wins not only in high yield but also in nutrient dense food!!
Transition Farm has joined Instagram...“... a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your photos with friends and family.” This is another "social networking" platform available for users of Apple products. We are also on Facebook.
If you are local, hope to "socially network" in the old fashion way this weekend by meeting you at the market!!