At Farnham Community Farm, which has been growing veg without chemicals for well over ten years now, the summer vegetables have done pretty well, despite the vagaries of the weather.
There are always years and times when one crop will perform well while another lags behind, or is “sulking” because there has been too much or too little rain or sunshine.
Anyone growing veg, whether in their own garden or on an allotment, will be all-too familiar with this!
In springtime, the team of growers is always busy sowing seeds, spreading compost and getting plants into the ground.
This year the growers and volunteers have also been working hard to cover the paths between the beds with cardboard and woodchip to keep the weeds under control; these will eventually feed back into the soil again.
In areas that are not used for growing, there is usually a gorgeous display of wild flowers, especially poppies. Some of these will be picked and dried to create small bouquets that members can buy in the autumn.
This year we have also been using the farm as an educational space, inviting members and non-members up for a herbal workshop for example, looking at other useful and everyday plants such as plantain and yarrow.
And we are starting some cooking workshops, and have been visited by Brownies and Cubs, among other community and school groups.
So, what’s done well this summer? We have had a steady supply of the most popular crops, cucumber and tomatoes, both of which are grown in polytunnels. They provided rich pickings and great ingredients for a fresh salad.
Beans, both French beans and flat ‘Hunter’ beans, were another success.
The veg bags – which are picked up on a weekly basis – were full to overflowing; plenty to eat and plenty to blanch and freeze.
There were lots of leafy greens too, like peppermint chard, and the new crop Aztec Broccoli was very popular.
Right now, we are on the cusp of summer and autumn. The summer veg are still cropping while the red cabbages are already showing off their beautiful dark red leaves.
As for the pumpkins – they couldn’t be bigger or more beautiful!
If you would like to know more, check out our website (farnhamcommunityfarm.com) or our social media pages @farnhamcommunityfarm
Fancy coming along? Our next Social Saturday is on October 28.
You can pick your own pumpkin, or feel free to visit us during half-term.
By Tash Hoare and Marlies van den Hurk