We’ve visited 15 organic veg growing farms over the past couple of months, which has provided us with a wealth of information and ideas for our own growing future. Both inspiring and sobering in equal measure.
We’ve been inspired by the exciting machines and implements we’ve seen on our travels – in particular front-mounted weeders and rollers, small-scale compost spreaders, and bottomless tractors (like in the photo above) – and of course by the great crops we’ve seen. And above all we’ve been bowled over by the immense skill & graft of all the growers and how incredibly generous they’ve been to give us some of their time, and share some of the knowledge they’ve taken years to accumulate.
The sobering side of our journey has been just how much capital investment is needed (loads!) and how much of a slog veg growing can be. 70 hour weeks for an annual income of £10k or less seems to be the average (that’s slightly more hours than we do, and slightly less money than we earn – and we thought we had it bad!), and there’s a worrying amount of broken relationships along the way too. It’s a seriously tough business.
In the meantime, on the farm we have been taking advantage of April’s hot dry spell and getting on with ploughing and harrowing the 10 acres or so going in to clover this year. Lapwings are out there with us, scoping out places to nest; swallows are back in the building. Our late leek crop has been pretty hefty, brought on by the warmth, but hard work to dig out of the baked soil.