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  • We veg growers hate those meeces to pieces!

    Posted on March 27th, 2012 charlotte 1 comment

    Wee, sleekit, cow’ring, tim’rous beasties? Or nasty little pests that dig up our seeds and pee all over our polytunnels?

    Sharing a vegetable-growing site with Cornish wildlife can have its drawbacks. We’ve been overrun by a plague of long-tailed field mice.

    They’ve taken up residence in our potting shed amid the piles of cardboard that we’re using for our lasagne gardening. They’ve run riot all over the polytunnels and eaten everything from beetroot to onion seeds.

    So it’s time to hang the seed trays from the rafters of the polytunnels. And we’ve decided to resort to more drastic action.

    Camel CSA 1: Meeces 0

    But as the war against pesky predators continues, so much for the best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men. Now we’ve discovered an entire newly-sown bed of broad beans have gone missing…

  • 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?

  • We’re getting to know our onions

    Posted on August 11th, 2009 charlotte No comments

    Camel CSA - 09-08-09One vegetable that Camel Community Supported Agriculture members can rely on this season is the humble onion.  There should be enough to fill the veg boxes until the New Year.

    The growing team got on their hands and knees on Sunday and pulled up hundreds of red and white onions and a row of shallots before the heavens opened and the rain poured down (yet again).

    Our onion harvest is now in dry storage in shed space kindly provided by Camel CSA volunteer Mark Malcolmson.

    The expert growers have been taking an audit of what’s going to be available from our site at St Kew Highway over the next few weeks, apart from onions.  We can expect more chard, beetroot, carrots, potatoes and parsley in the short term.

    In November we can look forward to cauliflower and two varieties of cabbage, followed by parsnips and kale.  In December we should get some purple sprouting broccoli, with Jerusalem artichokes in January.

    Pesky predators

    Unfortunately the runner beans, the French beans, the courgettes and our third crop of peas are all looking very sorry for themselves.

    Camel CSA 09-08-09We’ve been overrun by voracious rabbits.  It’s been a bad year for them.  They’ve even been taking chunks out of the onions!  The newest predators on the block are a family of partridges, which seem to love the peas.

    Our financial wish-list includes predator-proof fencing and additional protective fleece, but we don’t have enough money at the moment to do anything more about this.  Hence our bid for external funding.

    Continuity of supply

    In the meantime, we will continue to fill the gaps by buying in vegetables from our three expert growers.  Mark Norman has plenty of courgettes, with leeks and swedes to come.  He will also have celery and celeriac plus parsnips, potatoes and onions, if need be.

    Jane Mellowship will continue to provide salad bags throughout the autumn and winter months.  Jeremy Brown can supply salad leaves, tomatoes and cucumbers as well as peppers, chillies and pumpkins. 

    We are also busy looking locally for new partners who can supply us with potatoes, carrots and other mainstay items to help fill up our veg boxes during the autumn and winter.

    Big effort

    Camel CSA 09-08-09Volunteer growers, pickers and packers are making a fantastic effort at the moment on Friday and Sunday mornings. 

    Apart from harvesting the onions, the growers have made a concerted attack on the weeds, as well as pruning and tying up the boysenberries.  All under the guidance of expert growers Jane, Jeremy and Mark N, helped variously over the two days by Charlotte, Danny, Fiona, Kitty, Mark M, Mike H, Mike S, Penny and Trish. 

    Friday’s picking and packing team comprised Callum (10), Leonie, Mark M, Mike H, Robert,  Tom (11) and Trish, who packed the boxes.  They harvested, sorted, counted out and bunched up enough vegetables to fill 23 boxes for grateful members.  But they still need more rubber bands!

    Many thanks to Jeremy G, who took the pictures.

    Watch our latest video: Camel CSA – Our first harvest