Well time has spiralled on, winter turned into spring and spring has gone on to flirt sporadically with the idea of becoming summer. Salad and spinach leaves aplenty are being harvested and in the polytunnels tomato and cucumber plants are starting to clamber slowly up their string supports. The market garden is literally abuzz in a pollinate-y sort of a way, but this blog has been growing nothing but dust this past 6 months... Even our photo gallery's looking a bit yesteryear. Time for a little update to avoid the impression that things have gone defunct... So what's new in t'garden?
It's our second spring here, but unlike last time round, when we were sowing our first seeds, we've now got produce to sell. We're now up to 3 working polytunnels, and hardy salads planted out in them in October kept producing some leaves through the winter before getting truly productive from March. As April turned to May our outdoor salad seamlessly took over, despite the best efforts of voles to tunnel under everything. At the moment we are harvesting good quantities of a delicious and eye-catching mix consisting of over a dozen different lettuces varieties, rocket, baby chard and beetroot leaves, frilly mustards, crunchy pea shoots, edible flowers, aromatic herbs and more. Over the last few months we have also been selling a tasty stir fry mix featuring purple sprouting broccoli, kale, chard, oriental leaves and wild garlic. And our first mange tout from the polytunnel are ready to harvest this week, with spring onions to follow soon...
This spring has also seen an expansion of our flower growing area, with Nat offering bouquets for weddings and other events from the summer (see lovely flyer above). Since the autumn we have also gained a major new wholesale customer who sells our produce on to some of the finest pubs and restaurants in the Wye Valley and beyond – see the About Us page for more details of where you can find our produce.
As the season has geared up, it has at times been a challenge to find enough hours in the day to run the garden as well as our various other commitments. That said, working long into a sunny evening can definitely feel more pleasure than chore, and that’s especially true when we have a nice crew getting a big job done together. Since the autumn, we have been ably assisted one day a week by a wonderful local volunteer named Rachel, and we hope to have another regular volunteer starting soon. If you are interested in helping out in exchange for lunch, chats and maybe a few horticultural skills, feel free to get in touch. We are not able to host residential WWOOFERS at present, but are looking into this in the medium term.
Finally, under the intrepid tutelage of Juanfran Lopez, Ragmans Farm's resident maverick soil scientist, we have been experimenting with some very interesting regenerative agriculture techniques. These deserve a blog post of their own, and I hope to write one, and upload some new pics, soon. Honest.