News from the hill!

After a few rainy weeks when we thought Sims Hill was going to turn into an aquatic wonderland, things are finally starting to dry out. The Bristol area received 273mm (nearly 1 foot) of rain in 3 weeks and was officially the wettest April in over 100 years! Needless to say this had a noticeable impact on the growth of plants and the ability to cultivate and tend to veg already planted. On the plus side we have filled our new pond (approx 60,000 litres in 2 days) and have a really good understanding of water movement through the site. The potential to catch and store water is truly epic and we can potentially store enough rain water to irrigate all our soon to be bought poly tunnels.

Our successful grant applications to Bristol Green Capitol and S. Glos mean that we are in a position to invest in two large tunnels (pending planning permission) plus all the fencing and crop protection necessary to grow to the capacity of the field which we estimate to be between 80 – 100 full shares.

Despite the challenges of the climate we have finally caught up with the sowing and planting schedule and now have all our main crop potatoes and onions planted as well as early roots, and summer brassicas. Climbing beans went in last week as well as many hundreds of lettuces, celeriac and sweet corn. Summer and winter squash are still waiting to be planted as the weather is still too chilly at night. Our winter brassicas are just poking their heads out of the compost after being sown last week. They’ll be planted out in 6 -8 weeks. Our main crop roots were sown just in the nick of time before the latest front came in on Tues. In summary our early crops will be a little late to harvest but we are on schedule with the rest of the plan.

On the other side of the motor way things are decidedly different. We are lucky enough to have access to 7000 foot of green house space where everything is looking great. Luscious chard ready for picking this week, cabbage, carrots and beetroot a few weeks away, broccoli and early onions doing well and climbing beans twisting their way up the canes as we speak. Tomatoes and cucumber are well established but have a few months to go.

Eating seasonally means that some months of the year are lean times for veg production – we are still in this hungry gap where the supply of veg is limited. Stored produce has run out and much of the new season harvest is yet to begin. In the past this would have been a time of fasting and foraging but luckily we have an organic wholesale market in town and can put together a weekly share from mainly British produce. With this in mind it is important to let us know if you can’t collect your share as buying in produce is costly and uncollected shares are wasteful and places undue pressure on the enterprise.

Hope to see you on the Hill this Sat for the Get Growing Trail where the weather will be fantastic!

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