Author Archives: Richard Pitt

Tomatoes 2022

Our tomato plants are now on sale!

We’ve grown them from seed in our polytunnel, using heat from compost to keep them at the perfect temperature.

These are not just any tomatoes. They are all very tasty and cover a range of sizes, shapes, colours and tastes. You can read the details on this page.

We are selling them at £5 each or 3 for £12.

Bush/Determinate

  • These kinds of tomatoes produce fruit at the tips.
  • Let form into a bush shape. Don’t pinch them out.
  • They tend to fruit all at once.
  • They tend to fruit sooner than vine tomatoes.

Dwarf Cherry – we are not sure the variety, but this feisty plant will do well in a container and give decent sized cherry tomatoes. We started them off in our compost-heated hot box in February and they are already flowering and producing fruit.

Vine/Cordon/indeterminate

  • fruit produced on trusses alternating with side branches
  • will keep growing up for as long as the weather is good
  • a succession of fruit as each truss ripens

Galina – Super-Early, but fruits over a long season. Bright-yellow cherry with sweet flavour and a thinner skin. Very productive. Comes from Siberia. Don’t be put off by the leaves – they look more like potatoes than tomatoes. Fruits grow to about 2.5cm in diameter and resist cracking. Grow as a vine, but let a couple of shoots develop if you want even more tomatoes!

Ruby – Early and productive; nice rounded red tomatoes. Can grow as bush or a short vine (1.2m)

Purple Ukraine – An early, reliable and productive Ukrainian heirloom variety producing purplish black plum shaped fruits 7-10cm long (to those in the know, the size and shape of a goose egg). Great in salads or cooked. Leaves are dark green and feathery – an attractive addition to your greenhouse.

Ailsa Craig – a fine old variety bred in Scotland in 1908. Tough, reliable and early to fruit. Bright red, medium-sized fruits and excellent flavour. Good disease resistance – will cope quite well outside if you don’t have a greenhouse Grows to 1.5m

Gardeners Delight – a small, super-sweet variety of the classic red tomato. Easy to grow. If we get a cool spell in early summer it will slow down, but will start growing again when the temperatures rise again.

Yellow delight – yellow cherry. Similar to gardeners delight but yellow.

Chocolate Cherry – deep red/black cherry tomatoes with rich sweet taste. Can leave 2 side shoots to grow on as this plant produces comparatively little fruit.

Skykomish – beautiful orange tomato, bred for resistance to blight. Quite large. Good taste.

Jen’s Tangerine – brilliant orange, great balance of sweet and acid. Large for a cherry tomato. Vines grow to a decent height and produce lots of fruit over a really long season. Seed has come from high in the mountains, so it is used to cold nights and short seasons.

Beef Steak – an unknown variety grown from seed saved by some friends.

Outdoor Kitchen – January 2022

This is a project update for our Outdoor Kitchen, January 2022.

We are so pleased to let you know that the construction phase is finished!

We had no idea it would take so long and we feel the pressure of our unfulfilled pledges, but we have news on all that here.

First a message from Farm Manager, Richard Pitt

During the 2021 growing season Louiza (our Edible Schoolyard Project Lead) was engaged to run Edible Schoolyard sessions at the New Forest Small School and has developed resources and ideas for the sessions that will be run at Aldermoor Community Farm. However, as mentioned in the above video, there won’t be any Edible Schoolyard sessions in 2022 as Louiza is going to be on maternity leave. She will be back in the autumn/winter and the Edible Schoolyard will make great progress in 2023.

In the meantime have an exciting 2022 ahead of us. We will be using the space for workshops, social activities and hopefully a Saturday morning pop-up coffee shop.

Now here is a look around the finished Outdoor Kitchen structure:

Elsewhere on our website you can see more detail of the construction phases. We have photos and details of making the concrete base, putting up the timber frame, and covering the roof.

We remain indebted to our supporters – this is something we all have a part in.

We will continue to send out updates as we prototype the worktops and units we will be making to kit out the space.

Outdoor Kitchen – A great space

Here are a few pictures of our Outdoor Kitchen the first few times we used it.

You can follow the story of its construction on other pages.


Even before it was finished the volunteers liked to eat lunch here.

Our wreath-making workshop in December was a very happy time

Everyone seemed to really enjoy being in the space.

That’s a lot of wreaths!

This panorama shot makes it look a bit round!

Outdoor Kitchen – Roof

We had originally planned to create the roof from some steel sheeting we salvaged from a falling down pig sty that was on site when we first arrived 7 years ago.

However when it came to it, we realised it was not such a good idea. It was not very true (a bit wonky). It had fixing holes from previous uses that we would have to fill. It would need a lot of cutting to shape – noisy and potentially sharp edges. And it was heavy to lift up in place.

So we bit the bullet and bought new sheets made of onduline. This is a bitumen based product, much lighter and easier to work with. This cost us extra, but we knew we just had to do the roof properly – being rainproof was the whole point.

This was also now a specialist job – it was stretching our skillset and we were also getting very busy expanding our shop ready for Christmas. Knowing this, one of the farm community came forward with a new donation that completely covered the labour costs for our carpenter Sam to come and finish the roof. What a relief. And what a result.

We don’t seem to have any other pictures of the roof in progress, but here are two from Sam’s instagram:


And this is the (nearly) finished article.

Outdoor Kitchen – Timber frame

This is page 2 of our Outdoor Kitchen story.

We had finished the concrete base in April, but our volunteer carpenter who was designing the timber farm had to take some time off as his wife gave birth to their third child in mid April.

We had to wait for his expert help, and we were also very busy with our summer programme of vegetables. We continued to landscape around the outdoor kitchen as we waited.

We were able to carry on in August. This page tells the story of how we got the timber frame up.


We had a lot of long pieces of timber to walk over to the site.

It was quite technical, making the beams and fixing them to the posts.

Celebrating the first big milestone in the timber frame.

It was good to have a large team to get the heavy posts and wall plates up.

Here is a time-lapse run through of putting up the posts. Watch for the chickens to the right of the picture too.


We missed a few picture opportunities when we put the roof up, but here is an early shot of the joists.

We had to work at the top of the ladder for some of it!

Big thanks to Sam Pitt (Brothers Carpentry and Joinery) who volunteered several Saturdays to lead on the timber frame construction. We couldn’t have done it without him. (And thanks to his family who gave him up for the day those times)

Finally, by mid-October the timber frame was finished.

Outdoor Kitchen – Foundations

This is the beginning of the story of the construction of our Outdoor Kitchen.


On this page is how we made the concrete base. Other pages tell the story of the timber frame, the roof, and the first few events in it.

First we had to dig out the 7m x 4m footings for the foundations…

…the team from the Rotoract Club of Winchester did most of the digging!

Next we made the timber formwork and laid a sub-base from hardcore and scalpings.

We had a lot of ballast and scalpings delivered.

We got good at mixing – we did just over 90 loads in the end!

The pad was so big we split it into 3 sections, taking a day to do each one.

We helped each other pour the cement.

And we learnt to get it level.

It built our confidence (and our muscles) to learn new skills.

Lots of different volunteers enjoyed the learning process.

Finally, by mid-April the base was finished.

Follow the story with a look at how we built the timber frame and the roof.

Lead Grower – 2022 Season

We have an exciting opportunity for someone to join us for the 2022 growing season as our Lead Grower.

This is a 9 month contract to cover maternity leave.

The successful applicant will be working 2 days / week, responsible for growing our wide range of fresh produce using organic methods and the principles of permaculture.

Please see the job description for full details.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

If you want to apply, please fill out this application form and return it to us by email.

Timeline

  • Applications close: Wednesday 26 January, 6pm
  • Interviews: Monday 31 January or Tuesday 1 February
  • Induction day: Tuesday 8 February
  • Contract start/end: 1 March 2022 to 30 November 2022

Christmas Open Day 2021

We had a lovely bit of festive time on Saturday 11th December 2021.

It was a lovely day, despite worries about rain, we survived without a drenching. And it all seemed to be about the food!

  • [from 11am] Mulled fruit juice and muffins.
  • [from midday] Farm Soup and sourdough, mulled apple juice and muffins.
  • [from 1pm] Live music and carol singing
  • [from 2pm] Firepit and s’mores
  • [all day!] Christmas Shop – special gifts and crafts; Christmas trees

And if you look closely, you may see the Christmas cat…. (real name Grey Shadow)

Christmas Trees 2021

We are very excited to announce that this year we are stocking top quality Nordmann Firs grown by Woodman Trees, just north of Winchester.

You can get a quality tree from us at a reasonable price:
4ft – £20
5ft – £25
6ft – £35
7ft – £45

We are open Wednesdays and Saturdays 9am to 5pm. AND FOR DECEMBER: Thursdays and Fridays 2pm to 6.30pm.

And how about this – when you’ve finished with your tree you can bring it back to us and we will shred it and use it as mulch for our paths!!

These are Nordmann Firs – they draw in water and retain their needles for a longer period compared to the traditional Norway Spruce and other types of Fir.

We had a very interesting time learning about how they are grown when we went to meet the team at Woodmancott. It is a stunning location on the downs north of Winchester.

There are half a million trees there.

The trees are planted out when they are 3 years old and grow on for another 6 years before being harvested.

There is so much care each year to ensure they form a traditional shape.

Taking in the view at Woodmancott

Care of your Tree

Cut trees are no different to cut flowers and they will dry out if they cannot draw up moisture. For best results, cut half an inch off the stem and use a water-filled Christmas tree stand.

Wreath-Making 2021

We had a great day!

Perhaps we can do it again next year.

On Saturday 4 December 2021 we put on two 2-hour workshops with local artist Hannah Brown to create our own beautiful festive wreaths to take home.

We used our new all-weather space – the outdoor kitchen. There was a 2 hour workshop in the morning and another in the afternoon. In between sessions we served a tasty lunch devised and prepared by Louiza Hamidi and friends.

We were really blessed with the weather!
Here’s what we did!
Leek and cream soup was well received at lunch time.
Can we make one for our duck house please?