It’s that time of year where we start to get really excited about the wide variety of fresh farm produce that is about to come our way! We have had a later start than usual with a wet spell and cooler temperatures, but we are recovering well. Although already in their third year of production, our strawberry plants are producing well. New runners will go in for next season’s crop.
With spring’s weather being first too dry and then too wet, we have had shorter windows of time to get the ground prepared for crops. After receiving 200mm of rain we also had one of our tunnels completely collapse under the weight of the water, The farm team had it back up and repaired on the same day.
This year’s three tomato varieties (Black Cherry, Tommie Toe and Yellow Pear) are protected from the elements and, hopefully, the fruit fly in one of our tunnels. Our cucumber crop didn’t get the best start when the tunnel fell on top of it, but the plants have bounced back and fresh cucs will be in the shop soon. This year, to reduce spraying (of naturally derived and eco-friendly products) we are introducing lacewing insects. These little helpers will prey on the aphids which show up each year without fail. We hope that as the soils improve, the farm’s natural ability to deter and protect itself from pest and disease will again return.
We’ve harvested the last of the winter crops now, and all the citrus has bloomed and is setting fruit for next season. With a new bee hive on site, we hope the extra help from the pollinators will mean better crops from this point forward. We also planted figs on the hill near Warrah Special School. We are hopeful that these will produce a crop next season, as they settle in and get strong.
This summer we are growing salad mix, silverbeet, kale, beetroot, beans, and radish. As well as fruiting crops like zucchini, cucumber, tomato, capsicum, chillies, eggplant, strawberries, and herbs basil, mint and parsley. New crops are being trialled such as kohlrabi, raspberries and, next season, our rhubarb crop will be ready to harvest.
In the nursery we are also raising the promise of colour from paper daisies, lavender, Queen Anne’s lace, dianthus, cosmos, yarrow, salvia and calendula. These are for the bees and for attracting predator insects, and, we’ll have some lovely cut flowers for sale in the shop too.
In the past weeks the participants in our TAFE Certificate in Work Education have worked on raising a beautiful wooden roof structure. The covered space will provide seating, shelter from the weather and an important place to meet and socialise.