A year of FarmStarting

Belinda digging at Woodbank

Where has the time gone? Incredibly fast, and it feels like I have only just touched the surface on learning about Stockfree Organic Growing. My 1st year is nearly coming to an end and it has been amazing and hard work. Learning to be observant, keeping detailed records, being creative on how you see things. Not to get stuck into one way of doing and also to communicate and work within the team.

As regards working within a team, having Land Army at Woodbank has been incredible. Having the guys there has helped us a huge amount. And you see the impact they have had on the land when they leave. Various jobs which would take a FarmStarter a long time to do are finished in a day. So each and every person is really valued. As well as hearing some incredible stories and inspired that they have given their free time to volunteer.

We have grown many succesful crops for Veg Box People and local chefs and restaurants via Manchester Veg People, including cucumbers, squash, parsley and rainbow chard, to name but a few. My personal favourite is Cavolo Nero  kale which I have grown a liking for, as it is a robust crop, grows plenty, can withstand the Northern weather and is quick to harvest. It's key making sure harvests are weighed and packaged quickly and efficently, so to be on time for the rest of the food production line, delivery, retail etc..

Harvesting every week, with a large order, can become repetitive over time, but its worth it when the order leaves the farm and you can then work on the progression and next steps. Now coming to the end of the season, thinking about crop planning and rotation is really exciting. What worked this year? What didn't? How could we do things differently? And what crops should we experiment with?

Lets just hope next season we get more Northern Sun!! haha!!

If you're interested in joining Kindling's year-long training programme at Woodbank, find details here: https://kindling.org.uk/farmstart