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  • Should we shoot them – or what?

    Posted on September 16th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    rabbitI’m talking about the rabbits.

    They’re devastating our brassicas – the 1,000+ donated by Fentongollan Farm that Camel CSA volunteers planted in monsoon conditions in July. 

    They’ve hopped along the protective fleece and created several neat lines of holes by boring down vertically into the centre of nearly every plant.  How do they do it?  Have they got sat nav or is it simply down to their whiffly noses?

    The rodents seem to like munching red and green cabbage, kale (both kinds) and purple sprouting broccoli the best.  But, just like humans, they don’t seem to be quite so keen on the Brussels sprouts.

     Slug attackslug-boot-camel csa 08-09-09

    Those famous Cornish slugs with the orange-frilled stomachs have also been having a go.  There’s been quite a bit of joking about the best way to deal with them.  Slug stir-fry, anyone?

    We’ve spent the last two Sundays hand-weeding what’s left of the brassica plants, in the hopes that they will recover from these predatory attacks.

    Many thanks to our stalwart volunteers – expert growing team members Jane, Jeremy and Mark N, aided by 10-year-old Callum, Cath, Charlotte, Danny, Jenny (14), Keira (3), Kitty, Mark M, Mike H and Mike S in week one.  And thanks last week to experts Jane and Jeremy as well as Charlotte, Dan, Kate, Kitty, Marianne, Mike S and seven-week-old baby Hollie, who slept through it all. 

    Provided we’re successful in our funding bids, we’ll be able to invest in some strong predator-proof fencing and netting in the near future.  But in the meantime, please do tell us.  Should we shoot those pesky rabbits – or what?

  • Young volunteers make local food work

    Posted on August 30th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    More and more young people are getting involved in Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s pioneering efforts to promote local food.

    duke-of-edinburgh-camel csa 30-08-09 Fourteen-year-old Jenny Simmons, who’s at Wadebridge School, has chosen Camel CSA as the volunteering activity for her Duke of Edinburgh’s bronze award programme.

    This gives young people the opportunity to become involved in a project that they really care about.

    This week Jenny helped prepare the onions for the boxes.  She worked alongside packing supremo Trish and fellow picking and packing team members Cath, Charlotte, Mark M, Mike H, Penny, Robert and Steve.

    Marathon

    The volunteer growers have at long last completed the marathon task of removing the black plastic mulch from the overgrown strawberry beds. 

    camel-csa 30-08-09They also weeded the beetroot and removed the vicious thistles growing among the Brussels sprouts.   Mark N strimmed the overgrown edges.

    Once all the plastic had been dug up and removed, Jeremy got out the tractor and cut back all the surface weeds. 

    Now he can go ahead and plough the ground in preparation for sowing a crop of green manure.

     This Sunday’s team comprised expert growers Jeremy and Mark N plus Cath, Charlotte, Danny, Mark M and Mike H. 

    We need you!

    A big turnout is requested next Sunday when we’ll peel back the protective fleece and assess the damage to the 1500 brassica plants that were planted out last month. 

    These are the plants donated by our newest sponsors, Fentongollan Farm at Tresillian.

    We must weed the 20 long rows of red cabbage, green cabbage (two varieties), cauliflower, purple sprouting broccoli and kale (both red and green).

    So please make an extra special effort to turn up.  We need all the help we can get!

  • What’s in the boxes

    Posted on August 7th, 2009 charlotte 1 comment

    Picking chard - cropped 31-07-09 001You’ve guessed it!  We can expect more chard in the boxes this week plus a selection from potatoes, onions, spinach, white cabbage, courgettes, cucumber, salad leaves, parsley and spring onions.

    The late start to Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s first planting season, the challenging growing conditions and the rising total of veg boxes are all taking their toll on the crops cultivated by our volunteers.  We are gradually buying in more vegetables from our own expert growing team.

    Mark Norman, one of our expert growers, reflects the observations of his vegetable growing colleagues:

    “All vegetable growers have experienced three bad years in a row.  The weather has been atrocious across Britain.  All over the country, growers are complaining.   For instance, the beans are not pollinating properly.  The supermarkets are coping as they are importing from abroad.”

    Camel CSA 02-08-09In spite of this, Camel CSA’s volunteers continue to turn out in all weathers.  Thanks to last week’s picking team of Cath, Charlotte, Fiona, Mike H and Robert.  Trish did the maths and masterminded the packing of the vegetable boxes.

    The growing team took advantage of a dry morning on Sunday to plant out the remaining 10 rows of brassicas and cover them with fleece.  We put in more than 750 plants, including Savoy cabbage (Vertus variety), cauliflower (Thalassa), Brussels sprouts (Igor and Darkmar) and red cabbage (Red Rum).

    Thank you to expert growers Jane and Jeremy and to Carolyn, Cath, Charlotte, Danny, Kayleigh, Kitty, Mike H, Mike S. and six-year-old Haydn.

    Now the planting’s over, it’s time to start lifting and storing our bumper crop of onions.  And we need to make a concerted attack on the even larger crop of annual and perennial weeds…

    Watch our latest video: Camel CSA – Our first harvest

  • They really do deserve a medal!

    Posted on July 29th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    Camel CSA 26-07-09 The volunteer growing team braved monsoon conditions on Sunday to plant nearly 1,000 brassica seedlings donated by Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s latest sponsors – Fentongollan Farm at Tresillian.

    The rain ran down inside our collars, our trowels got clogged with wet earth and our boots became totally caked in mud, but we all remained remarkably cheerful. 

    In all, we planted 10 long rows – five of purple sprouting broccoli (two varieties) and five of winter cabbage (Dutch white and primo).

    The generous donation of over 1,500 plants means that we can look forward to plenty of green vegetables in the early part of next year. 

    By then we hope we’ll have been successful in our bid for outside funding from the Lottery’s Local Food programme to enable us to buy a polytunnel to raise our own seedlings and salad crops. 

    Camel CSA 26-07-09 Jeremy Hosking of Fentongollan explained why he offered us his surplus brassica plants:

    “We do raise millions of plants every year – 80 million in fact.  We have certain lines that don’t always sell out so rather than throw them away we like to give them away.”

    And for this we’re extremely grateful!

    Intrepid

    Last Friday Camel CSA expert grower Jeremy Brown and our secretary Mike Sadler singlehandedly planted 450 donated kale seedlings – both red and green varieties. 

    Later this week we will plant the cauliflower and leeks that make up the remainder of the gift from Fentongollan.  Weather permitting, we’ll also start preparing another planting area.

    The torrential rain is helping the seedlings to put out new shoots.  At least they won’t need watering in.  Lengths of fleece are protecting them from a long list of hungry predators – from rabbits to badgers to pheasants to pigeons to slugs to snails.

    Camel CSA 26-07-09 A big thank you to the intrepid growing team – expert growers Mark Norman and Jeremy Brown plus Charlotte, Gillian, Kitty, Mike H, Mike S, six-year-old Sophie and Freddie, aged four.

    Sharing the harvest

    There was also a keen turnout last Friday to help with the picking and packing of 24 vegetable boxes for our members.  Grateful thanks to expert grower Jeremy Brown and to Callum, Henrietta, Jenny, Mark, Mike H, Penny, Robert, Steve and Trish.

    Over the next few weeks we can look forward to more onions, potatoes, Swiss chard, beetroot, turnip, radishes, lettuce and parsley plus runner beans and another crop of peas.  Provided we get some warm sunshine and the slugs and snails stay away, we will also have some French beans. 

    However the non-stop rain is also resulting in a new crop of weeds, so the growing team needs all the help it can get on Friday and Sunday mornings.

    We look forward to seeing you.  Just make sure you bring waterproofs and wellies! 

    Watch our latest video: Camel CSA – Our first harvest

  • They deserve a medal!

    Posted on May 26th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    We’re having an extra mid-week volunteer session on Thursday as there’s so much work to do at Camel Community Supported Agriculture.  Charlotte, Kitty and Mike S have already put their names forward.

    carrotsWe need to plant out brassicas, celeriac, parsley and spring onion plants and, if we have time, sow sweetcorn and squash seeds.

    If you’re able to give a hand, we’ll be on the site this Thursday 28 May between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Click here for directions. 

    If you can’t make it on Thursday morning, why not give expert grower Jeremy Brown a ring on 07971762227 to find out when else it might be convenient to help out.

    Medals all round

    Last Sunday’s team deserves special praise.  Everyone got down on their knees and hand weeded. 

    weeding-carrotsThe onion, shallot and Swiss chard beds were comparatively easy to tackle, but weeding the carrots by hand was an exacting and extremely fiddly job. The air was blue at times.  We’ll savour every single one of those carrots when they appear in our weekly vegetable boxes!

    Grateful thanks to volunteer expert growers Jane, Jeremy and Mark and to their willing helpers – Beverley, Cath, Carolyn, Charlotte, John, Kitty, Mike H and Mike S.

    There’s so much effort going into preparing the first vegetable shares, which should start to be available in mid-June.  A lot of thought is being given to when and how they will be picked, packed and distributed.  

    We’ll be working on the site as usual next Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.   Do come along and enjoy the fresh air and exercise.  It’s not all hard work.  It’s good company – and fun too.

  • Sunday jobs – Whitsun weekend

    Posted on May 21st, 2009 charlotte No comments

    We need all the help we can get on Sunday.camel-csa  The growing season has hit us with a vengeance at Camel Community Supported Agriculture .  Weeds are shooting up – they love this showery weather! 

    Expert grower Jane Mellowship says: –

    “On Sunday we have lots to get done. Brassica, celeriac, parsley and spring onion plugs need to be planted out, there’s sweetcorn and squash to sow and plenty of weeding too.

    Hope to see you all then!”

  • Jobs for Sunday

    Posted on May 8th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    A message for anyone planning to volunteer this weekend from Jane Mellowship, one of Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s expert growers.

    “Just to let you know the jobs for this Sunday.

    “There are lettuce and leeks to sow in the potting shed and out in the field we need to transplant brassicas and chard.

    “A second sowing of beetroot can be made and, as long as the weather is good and a bed can be formed with the tractor, a second sowing of carrots. Other than that, weeding the onion beds and probably the peas.

    “See you Sunday.”

    camel-csa-volunteers-pic-26-04-091

    Last Sunday a bunch of around 10 volunteers got a lot more weeding done, but had to replant a row of brassica seedlings that had been devastated by another predator.  We should probably blame the resident pheasant this time, as it left tell-tale beak marks and foot prints!

    The second sowing of peas that replaced the 30-metre row eaten by slugs is now emerging safely under a protective fleece.

    Many thanks to volunteers Beverley, Cath, Charlotte, Mark N, Mike H, Mike S, Jane, Jeremy B, John and Kitty.

    This Sunday turn up any time between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Remember to bring strong shoes or wellies, waterproofs, gardening gloves, drinks and a snack.  Also tools, ideally wheelbarrows, shovels, spades, forks and rakes.  If the weather’s good you might need suncream and a hat!

    Click here for directions to the site.  If you have any questions call Antonina at St Kew Harvest Farm Shop on 01208 841818.