Sunday, 15 November 2009

Garlic planted

For first time we have planted a crop of garlic, we used the poly tunnel frame, south facing about 20m long and 1m wide. The three most important factors are

1. They needs one month of 10c or less
2. They need water during the growth period
3. They need maximum sun before harvesting, this will be achieved in the south facing site. We planted through woven plastic to suppress weeds and conserve moisture if we have a drought next year. The planting holes are made with a propane burner. Spacing is 5" within the row and 10" between the rows.
Garlic are split into two groups, the Hard Neck varieties which tend to be beyyer flavour but do not keep past Christmas,we are planting three of those namely Sprint, Germidor and Corail. The Soft Neck varieties will keep longer and have a milder flavour and smaller cloves we planted one variety of these Arno these are the varieties that you often see plaited due to the soft neck which is more flexible.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Classes in organic vegetable growing

I have been running a series of classes for gardeners interested in organic vegetable growing. Rather than print out reams of notes I promised to publish my note for the course here. So to see the notes either click on the title above or follow this link:

to find the notes. For those on the course below this page are the pictures of raised beds as used in the Bio Dynamic Care Community in Botton.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

An inspirational visit, Botton Camphill Community

We have just returned from an enlightening trip to North Yorkshire. We visited the Camphill Community at Botton village. 10 miles from Hutton le Hole over the North York Moors at 1,000, you drop into a valley, most of which is owned and farmed (700 acres in all) by the Camphill Community. There are 600 villagers working on the gardens and farms,guided by co workers and apprentices

The first view of the village as you come off the moor, most of the land you see is farmed by Botton Village.
All the farms are run on Biodynamic lines although the needs of the villagers are put before rigid agricultural and horticultural practices. Each farm has a task either dairy cows as seen above, beef, vegetables and Stormy Hall which produces and packs a wide range of Biodynamic seed.
Temporary tunnels are used allowing various envirnments to created for each crop, above are hoops for the 2m and 4m wide tunnels. Below is the land anchor used fro the larger tunnel
We came across various tools not normally seen in the UK, one was a French fork with two handles used to break up the soil but not turn it over. Another was the Dutch hoe seen below, it has a small handle on the end of the shaft which fits the hand and improves efficiency and comfort in use.
Stormy Hall grow separate vegetable crops from the other farms lower in the valley, presumably to evaluate varieties and isolate them for seed collection. Seen here are a Leek crop and Red Cabbage. The Leeks were doing well but spaced 12" apart in the rows compared to the 6" spacing we use.

The specialist vegetable farm lower in the valley used raised beds and are in the process of building more, they have cloches over some depending on crops and conditions.
The inner garden is laid out with mainly ornamentals and is a walled garden providing a beautifully peaceful environment for villages and co workers alike.

We found the village an inspirational place all the people we met were friendly and immensely proud of what they were achieving every day. The atmosphere was one of peaceful purposefulness. The whole ethos of the place was one of care for each other, care for the landscape and care for the animals within it.