The first seeds of the year – tomatoes – have now been sown at Eves Hill Veg Co, the community market garden near Reepham, which heads into its third year at Eves Hill Farm, Booton.
Through the dark days of winter, through wind, snow, sleet and cold, our mid-week volunteer days have proved that once you have a fork or spade in your hand, the winter can disappear for an hour or two.
We have been busy increasing the size of our salad area as we are hoping to grow 50% more mixed leaves next year. Last year we achieved 380 kg of salad – can we hit the half tonne mark in 2018?
Our open day in January saw 24 visitors plus six children and, despite the terrible weather, we had a wonderful gang working together on the new salad area (pictured). Best of all was the fertility of conversation and cross-pollination of ideas as new people met with common interests.
Planning for the site continues; we have visited projects in Devon, Dorset, Shropshire and Worcestershire under the Bright Ideas programme, looking at different models of production and people work.
This year we will be experimenting with a small, intensive garden with fast-growing crops to see if we can increase our yields while getting smaller instead of bigger.
We are also waiting on Broadland District Council (with fingers crossed) to see if they will help us purchase a new poly tunnel.
Our small tunnel didn’t make it through the winter, but a second, larger tunnel will provide us with a decent propagation area, a larger growing space (more tomatoes) and a place to have lunch out of the wind and rain.
We also attended a training day provided by Land Workers Alliance on the current and possible political outcomes for small-scale and family farmers in the Brexit negotiations.
This year we are seeking three trainees to join our team and learn about productive market gardening in a community context. This is a voluntary placement that runs from April-October and is a supported training programme.
100 Club fundraising
Over the next six weeks we continue the hunt for our 100 Club members. Thanks to all of you who have already signed up to support our fundraising for an apprenticeship position this year.
For £5 a month over a year you will be entered into a quarterly prize draw to win cash – supporting a young person into their first job in agriculture while supporting Eves Hill Veg Co to grow and develop.
You can also pay a one-off contribution of £60 and we are also suggesting that work places or friends could create a syndicate entry.
The apprenticeship role will be from April-October and, if all goes well, for three days a week.
Our veg bags will return from the end of June until Christmas, but that we should have ad hoc vegetables available from around April.
If you are interested in being added to our weekly veg list (we send an order request on a Tuesday and harvest on a Thursday), do let us know.
We have pick-up points at Eves Hill Farm in Booton, as well as in Cawston, Aylsham and Erpingham. We are also potentially looking to supply one or two more restaurants with mixed salad this year. Any ideas for the Reepham/Aylsham area welcome.
From March, our volunteer days will return to Wednesdays from 10.30 am – 4 pm. Bring a packed lunch; tea and biscuits provided.