Friday, 2 November 2012

Seaweed hauling has started

Thanks to some strong northerlies last week a nice bit of seaweed has been coming in to Great Bay and Little Bay. This has been taken down to Lawrences on to the patch intended for early spuds. About 25 tonnes hauled, only another 150 or so to go!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Who needs a tractor?

When you can transport all your veg home in a wheelbarrow?!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

September photos

The time of autumn crops! Squash and sweetcorn are coming on nicely and with this lovely warm weather they should carry on doing so. This is like the summer we never had!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Case study

I recently completed a case study about my business with the SWARM project at Duchy College.

Here you can read in more depth about the growing system I've created and some wider issues on soil, water and carbon emissions.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Competition in Middle Town

The other day I was asked by three girls "could we set up our stall next
to yours"? I replied "so long as you're not selling vegetables and you
encourage everyone who buys a shell to buy some veg too, that's fine"!

Monday, 9 July 2012

And still the weeds keep coming!

This has certainly been a wet few months. For us that means most crops have grown well and our soil never gets drainage problems as it's so sandy. However the cool temperatures and lack of sunshine have made tomatoes very late indeed, possibly as much as a month behind where we would expect them to be. But they're coming now, albeit slower than we would hope for.

Weeds of course love rain and they've grown like stink. Normally after June they slow down, but not this year! The trailer was filled to over-flowing from a patch that was cleared measuring just 20 yards by 8!!

Grapes are looking good and won't be too long if we get some prolonged sunshine; meanwhile the lettuce are romping away.

Monday, 2 July 2012

When Lord Taylor came to visit

It was a horrible day in early June, with literally gale force winds and rain, Lord Taylor came on a fact finding visit to St Martin's. As part of his tour of Scilly, trying to understand more about island life, from farming and water management to tourism and waste disposal, he visited me down on the farm.

I'm always a bit annoyed when I have to take time out my working day (especially a Friday which is a busy veg box delivery day) as it interrupts the rhythm of the day. However as he and his small delegation came down to me and didn't spend more than 30 minutes, it worked OK.

He was amiable and sounded genuinely interested in horticulture on Scilly and my business, and all associated problems of growing in such a remote place. I hope it gave him a small impression of the issues we all have to face over here and perhaps some ideas as to how to assist with some of the current and potential future problems on the islands.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Delivery from St Agnes

Straight from Agnes to St Martin's, then up the shed by wheelbarrow...

Thursday, 14 June 2012

What's on the veg stall

At the moment we have:
  • The best carrots on the island, lovely and sweet!
  • Early potatoes that cook beautifully boiled or roasted, with a great flavour
  • Mixed salad leaves, really nice mix, keep for days in the fridge
  • Mint and Oregano bunches
  • Courgettes - just started coming from the polytunnel
  • Strawberries from Tamarisk Farm on St Agnes - lovely sweet taste

It's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in Middle Town on St Martin's.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Photos from May

Crimson clover
A perfect quiet warm morning
Snapdragons flowering well

Thursday, 26 April 2012

7lb beetroot

I don't like to brag too much, but a half stone beetroot is surely worth a mention?!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Pests, rain and ridging

When people ask me what organic growing is all about, I usually try and steer away form what it isn't (no herbicides, artificial fertilisers, etc) to what it actually is based on. In mainland Europe organic farming/growing is called ecological or biological farming, and this is a much more accurate representation of what it is.

Understanding that soil itself is a complex ecosystem, that fields are (or at least should be) ecosystems, and the relationship of plants with those systems. Here is a case in point - look at this photo. Look carefully along the plant stem near the flower and you'll see thousands of insects - in this case aphids.

These aphids feed on the plant, so not good. Get the sprays out, get rid of them! That's one option, but remembering that patience is a virtue, let's try and understand what happens if we wait. In just a few days the ladybirds will appear, which have a voracious appetite, and aphids are one of their favourite prey!

That's also why many wild plants like campions, nettles and many other fleshy green plants are so important. You can't have predators without prey, and without that balance the ecosystem is out of check.

The lack of rain through the winter and spring has been worrying for the prospects of the water table this summer, and also less than ideal conditions for crop growth. However over the last week or so there had been some reasonable rainfall, which has definitely helped things pick up.

Early spuds are looking quite nice, ridged up for the second time now, and on course for being ready in early May. Some carrots are nearly pencil thickness and many leafy crops are coming on quite well.

It's always a pleasure this time of year to see the wild flowers around, like bluebells in the fields. And on the farm the first apple blossom is a sign that summer's just around the corner!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


This is a tray of cucumbers that have just germinated, with a very pleasing 97% germination rate!

Some slightly bigger cucumbers!

The glasshouse is full of seedlings now, ready to be planted out before too long...

Monday, 12 March 2012

Amazing weather on Saturday

It was like a summer's day, only a bit cooler. It was cracking all day, but the evening light was something else, reminiscent of May or June.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Bright, breezy, spring is here

March is a month of real growth, and there's no doubt that spring is here now. The semi-naturalised daffodils are all out, three cornered leek has been flowering for two months, nettles are growing fast and the hedges have got that lush green colour that only appears at this time of year.

Today is a fresh NW wind, but now the showers have cleared it looks glorious. Out of the wind it's really warm...

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Winter light and long nights

Winter can bring a clarity of light never experienced in summer with some stunning colours. Here are some photos from the last couple of months taken from St Martin's.

Sunset over Tresco

A sunny Sunday looking out over Persoil to White Island

A silhouette of the Western Rocks in dazzling winter sunlight

Thursday, 5 January 2012

What a Christmas card!

This came from one of our youngest customers, Daisy Davies on St Martin's, and is undoubtedly the best Christmas card of the year!