Market Garden Vegetables
We are setting up vegetable and flower beds using Organic and No Dig methods. This means we don’t use any chemicals, just mulch the soil with compost and cardboard, for fertility and to suppress the weeds. We are in the process of being certified as Organic by the Soil Association which will be completed by August 2020.
We grow a wide range of vegetables, including in our polytunnel which enables us to extend the season and grow delicious summer crops like tomatoes, aubergines and peppers.
We are aiming to follow these Soil Health Principles:
- Living Root
Living plants have living roots, they photosynthesise and transmit energy into the soil. This energy is feed for the beneficial soil organisms at work, creating aggregation in the soil.
- Covered Soil
It’s best to have living plants in the soil, as then you have living roots. But the next best thing is to ensure you cover ground with plant residue, e.g. with a terminated cover crop
- Minimise Disturbance
Ploughing disturbs the soil organism population, preventing them from doing their necessary work to maintain healthy soil. Reducing cultivation or going no till keeps them happy!
A diverse range of plants in the soil means a diverse range of roots and a diverse diet for the soil organisms the roots are feeding. Roots have unique functions e.g tap roots bring nutrients up from deep in the sub soils and legume roots fix nitrogen directly in the soil.
- Feed soils
Feeding the soil with compost, manure or compost tea will directly increase soil organic matter levels and provide plenty of food for worms!
- Minimise Chemicals & Synthetics
Adding chemicals can undo the good work you put in for the principles above — pesticides kill soil organisms, fertilisers make plants dependent and herbicides kill living roots.
From Neils Corfield: https://soils.sectormentor.com/case-study/know-your-soils-12-the-soil-health-principles/
We have planted a selection of fruit trees to break up the field and divide the growing area including heritage apple varieties, plums, pears and quince.
We planted 1700 trees thanks to the Woodland Trust in January 2020. They haven’t had the best start with some tough weather conditions (flooding followed by drought!) but they seem to be pulling through.