Announcing Saturday sessions for volunteers in February and March!
Our Saturdays start at 0930 and run until 1230. We have a cuppa mid morning and then if you want to stay for our “bring and share” lunch at 1230 that is encouraged! We send everyone home and lock up after lunch.
These are the definite dates and the probable activities we will be doing:
Sat 13 Feb – sorting seeds and putting them in envelopes ready for the Seed Swap on Sunday 21 Feb; preparing the geese lawn
Sat 27 Feb – creating our geese paddock and sowing a lawn for them; digging swales.
Sat 12 Mar – preparing our 3 sisters bed, digging swales and ponds.
Our main activities on the land at the moment are…
Taking control of the whole site by:
1) setting up growing areas covered with wood chip to keep the weeds down and
2) digging ponds and connecting them with our swales (special kind of ditches) to manage the water and make lots of beautiful water habitats
Setting up the polytunnel for producing many wonderful plants from seed.
We will be putting most effort into perennial plants (ones which don’t grow and die all inone year, but last many years). Adam tells me that perennials stay in the polytunnel longer than annuals, so we will have lots of interesting plants to nurture in there this year.
Preparing for the arrival of Sid the gander and his 6 geese in March. (we haven’t got a picture of Sid yet – this image comes from wikimedia.)We are making a fox proof area for the geese and seeding one of the areas the pigs excavated in the autumn to make a luscious lawn for them as grass is their main food.
We have been given Sid by a lady who is closing down her small holding. If anyone else fancies some pet geese – great for keeping the lawn cut – please let us know and we can put you in touch.
Looking over the log book we keep each day on the farm, we see that May and June were a bit breath-taking. So many significant changes and new things. What do you think of all this?
Summary of May
A record 190.5 hours of work done by volunteers on the farm. We’ve had 51 different people come to help since April 2014. We also had our first Saturday volunteering session.
Give and Gain Day 15 May. Organised by Business in the Community, we had 25 volunteers for the day from a company called Morgan Sindall. This was a day of big, big changes:
the greenhouse frame became a polytunnel
we gained a terrace for growing sweetcorn
21 tonnes of rubble was put into 3 skips
Chances4Change Food Festival: We were funded to provided a tomato-planting activity at this event in the centre of Southampton. Fifty people passed by our stall and planted up a seedling to take home and grow their own tomatoes.
Open Morning – Bank Holiday 25 May: Six of our members hosted an open morning and many local people came to see how we’re getting on.
40 guests signed the book – lots of positive comments!
3 people asked for eggs when available
3 people offered to volunteer
we made a profit of £45 on plant sales.
Summary of June
Our first three pigs were slaughtered and meat distributed.
Irrigation – we installed a water tank at the top of the hill, which is filled by an electric pump. This provides a steady daytime flow of water into swale 1 which overflows via a small stream and goes on into swale 2.
31 tomato plants installed in polytunnel
120 sweet corn plants are now out on the land
“3 sisters” bed created (sweet corn, beans and squash growing together)
we made the doors for the polytunnel and fitted them
we began harvesting mange toute, peas and strawberries
our area for growing cabbages, cauliflower and Brussels was prepared in the area above swale 1 and a tunnel for netting constructed over it
we had 115 hours of voluntary farm help and 157 hours of volunteer farm management.
we received some funding so that our managers can be paid 3.5 hours per week for the next 80 weeks for permaculture design of the farm.
Looking ahead, we have more Saturday volunteer sessions on August 1st and 15th, and another open morning on Bank Holiday Monday, 31st August.
So, after such a productive start to the summer we really want to say thanks for your involvement and support! And don’t forget the members meeting, Tuesday July 21st 7.30pm at the farm.
We regularly set aside Saturday mornings so people can come and get involved at the farm.
Dates for autumn 2015: November 7.
Starting at 1000 and ending at 1230, we will be working on whatever needs doing on the farm. This could be big new things like clearing ground for a new animal enclosure, digging a pond or more regular things like cleaning out the chickens, planting/harvesting fruit and vegetables or keeping paths clear.
Children are welcome if accompanied by a responsible adult.
Here are a few of our volunteers in action:
What to bring
We will provide tools, and gloves – you need to bring wellies or outdoor shoes. If it’s hot a hat is recommended. We will stop for breaks – it’s important to enjoy the beauty of our surroundings and also to enjoy one another’s company.
It would be good to know if you are coming – please call on 023 8218 2716, message us on facebook or email us.
On Saturday 5th April our friends from Lord’s Hill Church Men’s Breakfast came to help us start clearing the land. (see videos further down the page…)
It was a great morning. Everything seems different now, and the land is speaking to us in new ways about its potential. We are so grateful for this generous help – it was a real boost to us and got us started so well. THANK YOU Robert, Paul, Paul, Paul, Clive and Tony.
This is the difference they made:
The changing view from the edge of the yard (click to open bigger picture).
We took a couple of films of the action – can you see Robert, Paul, Paul, Paul, Clive and Tony?