Friday, 10 February 2012

potatoes, polytunnels and greenhouses

Inside our polytunnel : Alan Entwistle 
I'm reading a book at the moment about life as an Anglo Saxon in the year 1,000. One thing that's really surprised me is that there was a "hunger gap" in July when many peasants were seriously short of food. It seems strange when for us the least interesting time of year for food is round about now. But Anglo Saxons were heavily reliant on cereals - wheat, barley and oats - to provide the carbohydrate in their diet. The new crop doesn't come in until August and any stored seeds were well past their best by July. There is a suggestion that many ate mouldy grain which contains the  same chemicals as LSD and has an hallucinogenic effect ...hmmm!

So, thank goodness for potatoes, polytunnels and greenhouses which have provided us with alternative,good food and have helped to extend the growing season either side  of summer., not to mention fridges and freezers!

Experimentation has played a large part in extending our growing knowledge and skills and Sarah and the team were contributing to that this week at the farm. Those of you who've been on the tour at open days will know that we've got a small heated greenhouse on the site and a number of polytunnels. We were donated a large number of seed packets recently and Sarah thought it would be interesting to see if we could get any of them to grow so early in the year. So, huddled away from the cold snow and winter wind we sowed among other things aubergines and tomatoes , just to see what will happen.  It may be that they are reliant on daylight hours rather than temperature, or a mix of both but even if they don't survive  it's very cheering on a cold grey, slushy day to think of bright purple blooms on aubergines and ripening fruit on tomatoes!

In the meantime, if you're interested in experimenting or just growing you can do both as a volunteer at the farm. Come along any Tuesday after 10.00 for a chat or email

If you've got any thoughts on this or anything else to do with the urban farm just leave a comment in the box.


  1. Awesome and nice blog...keep it up

  2. Thanks Lewis! It's good to get feedback.