2018 at Woodbank Community Food Hub - FarmStart

First up, we spoke to Helen Dodd who is involved in the commercial growing on site (at Woodbank Community Food Hub) in her role as FarmStart Co-ordinator...


How has the weather affected growing this season?

The hot weather was scary at first but once we got irrigation systems in place it was alot easier. It was hard work watering the new seedlings because we dont have an overhead irrigation system in the polytunnel. It was better than if i'ts wet because you have less control, if you can water things still you’re alright. We grew more, and could be more organised with consistent weather.


What has grown really well?

Kale is king! (or queen), all of the varieties we grew were really good (cavolo nero, russian, curly) and as a result we are well respected in the market. Our Squash also did great.


What has been the most challenging veggie to grow?

Chinese cabbage, it didn’t get netted in time and mullered by cabbage white butterflys, it was growing well up until then!


What has been your hardest day of the season?

When I started work after breaking my wrist, the day was so hot, we had to work in the polytunnel and it was about 40 degrees. it felt like being in a sauna, bending over sweating, sweat running into your eyes! We had to keep coming out, drinking half a pint of water and imagining there was a breeze. It was a really slow day getting work done, quite hilarious!


What plans are you excited about for next year?

I'm really excited about growing chinese cabbage and it working..!

We will be expanding our growing space substantially growing accross the whole field next year, and be using succesional growing to extend the growing season. We will be trying some new crops including beetroot, peas and mange tout.


What changes to the site are you really proud of that you have acheived this year?

There are lots of things...extending the growing space, implementing water systems. Infact it's more of a relief than something im proud of!

We have developed the polytunnel in a way where they are more workable, and dealt with their drainage aswell.


Thanks so much for your reflections Helen and we can't wait to see what is grown on site in 2019. You can support the growing at Woodbank by buying a veg bag from Veg Box People, or if you're an organisation, you can source local organic produce from Manchester Veg People.