We are experimenting with all kinds of growing techniques that improve the soil and are not organic but regenerative- building fertility and creating more habitats for wildlife. Here are some of the methods we are experimenting with, more info to follow as we grow:
Hugelkultur- making beds with lots of organic matter buried underneath like rotting logs, turf and organic waste. We have built these in the flower garden and the soil is already noticeably more rich, water retentive and hopefully fertile.
No dig beds- we have brought in an awful lot of cow manure and council compost to build up fertile beds in the polytunnel. So far we have noticed a huge amount of wire worm eating the roots of our crops.. but nevertheless we have created very fertile beds for the crops to grow in..
Ramial Wood Chip Mulch- we spent a good while in the woods in the depths of winter chipping deciduous small diameter wood. This is a beneficial mulch for perennial crops as it creates a forest floor environment encouraging mycorrhizal activity helping the plants take up nutrient from the soil and conserving water. We have a left a strip of soft fruit without the special woodchip to see if it makes a difference.. watch this space..
Tomnah’a Market Garden Spring Newsletter 2016
Firstly a Big Thank You to everyone who came to our events last March. We were overwhelmed by the turn out and the encouragement from everyone who came along and has made all the hard work well worth it knowing there is so much support out there.
A second big thank you to new volunteers who have been coming out rain or shine to help us in the garden, it gives us a huge boost knowing people are keen to come and join us and believe in what we are doing. It won’t be long until we can thank you properly with boxes of tasty fruit and veg!
Everything has been moving very fast since then as spring usually does. As you will of seen our polytunnels have been skinned and everything is shooting up in there now, we have quite a huge job of watering now as we await an irrigation system.
Other great news is that we were very lucky to be awarded £50,000 from the Scottish Government to put in the main infrastructure. This is a huge relief knowing what we are able to manage and will pay for the deer fencing surrounding the field, an irrigation system, a tool/ packing shed in the centre of the field, electricity connection and a hard standing track leading to the shed.
Our third big event was the arrival of our young hens who are settling in nice and chirpily. They live in the red shed which will eventually move to the young woodland on the west of the field. You will see their mix of brown and speckled delicious fresh eggs in the Croft Shop in the next few weeks.
Other goings on:
We have come to the decision to not go ahead with delivering veg boxes this year. We are behind with a few of our crops due to the delay with the polytunnel and we still have lots of infrastructure and setting up to do, taking us away from the growing side of things. We felt the pressure of delivering 20 boxes this year would be a bit too much to take on. However, we will be starting ‘Harvest Days’ once and possibly twice a week. We will invite people to come help harvest and/ or make up a box of fruit and veg to take and pay what they feel it is worth. This will give us a better idea of what is popular and make the veg boxes even better for next year. We also hope it will be a chance for people to help out if they like or come and buy some produce at the end of the day. Watch this space for more information.
If you have any suggestions, would like to get in touch please do- email@example.com
Thank you for reading,
The Tomnah’a Team- James, Cristy, Sam and Judith
Hello local fruit and vegetable enthusiasts!
As the nights draw in and the weather changes we thought it would be the perfect time to let you know how things are progressing here at Tomnah'a Market Garden at Comrie Croft.
Apologies for taking so long to get back to you after you very kindly completed our survey and left contact details. We have had nearly 100 respondents which is fantastic. Thank you so much for lending your support to our fledgling project. It has been very interesting to see your preferences for the what, where, when type questions you answered. We have taken on board your ideas and comments and have shaped our plan of action accordingly!
Here's our mission statement which will give you the essence of what we are all about...
Tomnah'a is an integrated Market Garden born from our individual passions and a shared desire to create a beautiful, bountiful place in which to work. We aim to consistently grow delicious, fresh and vibrant produce; providing for the local community through our seasonal vegetable box scheme, breathtaking cut flowers, eggs from woodland free-ranging hens, refreshing herbal teas, fruits and berries, gourmet mushrooms and more. By enriching and regenerating soil fertility we work in partnership with nature using wildlife friendly growing methods to increase biodiversity and sustainable long term productivity.
Heres a quick update of some of what we have been doing since starting in the summer:
We are aiming to have our first laying hens on site by April, our first salad leaves harvested in late April / May and looking to start our box scheme by June. Flowers should be blooming by summer. So watch this space for more updates in late winter / early spring for where and when you can sample our produce.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA):
We want to be more than just a food producer and would love to give people the opportunity to get hands on with us on the farm. The box scheme could be set up using a CSA model. For more details about this please check out this great website with loads of information and case studies.
In essence it is a box scheme that goes beyond just supplying a regular box and becomes apartnership between the farmers and local consumers in which some of the responsibilities, risks and rewards are shared. It usually involves the members getting involved with the scheme such as: volunteering a small number of hours over the season, helping to organise social events, assisting in packing and distributing the boxes in local clusters to further reduce food miles.
If this sounds like it might be your cup of tea and you want to find out more please get back to us. (I know some of you have indicated this through the survey already but just drop us a quick response if you are keen if possible, thanks!) We hope to hold a meeting in Comrie with interested parties in the new year.
Linking to the CSA model would be volunteering opportunities, from regular workdays, occasional work parties, getting involved with social events, or just dropping in to see what we are up to.
We hope to finalise this by Spring but if anyone is really super keen to come and get stuck in we have tons of fruit bushes and fruit trees to plant, autumn bulbs to plant and more. Again if you are interested please get in touch.
If you haven't seen the page already, we've gone and germinated a facebook page
you can find it here - please like, share and generally shout it from the hilltops :)
If you prefer to call rather than email you can get me on 07894687407
We've also got a website in the pipeline, watch this space
I'l leave you with a lovely rainbow over the field:
Thanks for reading, hope to hear from some of you soon,
Sam and Tomnah'a Team!