It's one of the best times of year for produce - our harvest runs are full of summer treats at the moment including tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers, courgettes, french beans, peas and the first sweetcorn and squash are just around the corner!
We managed to get our final plantings of parsley, chicory, and calabrese in just in time before the rain last week. We had about 15.5 ml last week which was desperately needed as the soil was looking parched.
We have also been busy pulling fat hen from our chard, beetroot and leek crops. Fat hen is a native summer annual weed. It can get pretty big, competing with the crops for light and nutrients. It has just come into flower so we are hoping to pull out as much as we can before it sets seeds. It grows so well in the soil at Shillingford - if you know of any current uses of it, please do let us know!?
Do you want to come and volunteer with us?
Ever wondered what it would be like to work at Shillingford Organics? We will be holding another volunteer day later this month to help with the onion harvest. The date is still to be confirmed, depending on the weather, but if you are interested in joining our volunteer mailing list to receive information and updates about these days, please send your name and email address to email@example.com with 'volunteer mailing list' in the subject heading.
The day will be informal, working together to bring the onions in with a short break for a shared lunch which will be provided.
Courgettes: vegetable of the month
One vegetable that is thriving at the moment is the courgette, Curcurbita pepo. This year we are growing five varieties of courgette -Dunja, Gold Rush, Atena, Cocozelle and Sunbeam giving a mix of shapes including the flying saucer pattypans, and colours from dark green to brilliant sunshine yellow. The first sowing is made at the end of March and planted out at the end of May, and a later sowing at in mid-June for planting out in mid-July. They are planted out using the tractor-mounted planter, composted and protected with a tyre to keep off the worst of the wind and cold while the plants are young.
This year we are experimenting with straw mulch as a way of keeping down the weeds between the courgette plants. We rolled out the straw once the courgettes were getting established and the risk of slugs annihilating the young plants had passed.
Don't miss our Farm School Autumn Sessions...
In April 2016, 17 families from the local community started coming to Shillingford Organics Farm School to learn about food and where it comes from. We run weekly sessions throughout the seasons either for a morning or after school engaging children, and their adults, in farming hands on activities ranging from composting, sowing, to harvesting and sharing their own crops. Our mission is to grow an environmentally responsible generation; promoting a healthier and more sustainable food culture that is both good for us people and our planet. Three years on we’ve grown to 40 families coming weekly in July 2019. Such growth invited and called for three new group leaders to join our team. And from 9th September 2019 we will be running 6 groups on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and bookings will go live very soon.
Want to find out more? Please keep an eye on our website for details and bookings.
Are you on Facebook?
Please give us a like/ follow our page where you will see more information about our leaders as well as regular highlights from our groups.
Have you got an enquiry? Please write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a wonderful Summer and hope to see you all at Farm School harvest season
We have been sharing our favourite courgette recipes amongst the team. Try Harry's delicious courgette gratin or Miki's tasty courgette and pesto salad recipe if you're looking for ideas of how to use your courgettes.