Friday, March 05, 2010

Fruity plans at Mur Crusto farm

We are downsizing at Llangybi Organics as you have probably read here. But we - this is Bry and Val - are not giving up. (Neither, for that matter, are Jill and Mike who are planning their potato co-op at the moment.) Instead, plans are well underway for a pick-your-own (PYO) soft fruit enterprise in addition to the very much reduced veg production. It seemed crazy to grass over the plot of arable land we've been using for the last 8 years and waste all that fertility and relative freedom from weeds. So we're not going to. Instead, we are buying lots of the soft fruit bushes and will be planting these as they arrive from the nurseries. The idea is that any Llangybi Organics customers should come and pick their own fruit during the summer and autumn as it ripens. . The photo shows the 'old' veg plot from which winter crops are now all but finished. If you look carefully in the foreground, you'll see the first row of 10 blackcurrant bushes already planted out.

Cunning plans: Why are we doing this when we claim to want to reduce the work load and give us more freedom? Well we have a cunning plan to cut maintenance down to a minimum. We are covering the soil with woven plastic mulch material called Phormisol.

And what are we growing for this PYO? Here's the list, all delicious berries many of which you never see in shops or supermarkets:
  • Raspberries, both summer and autumn fruiting varieties. We're almost doubling our existing raspberry stocks with 80 new canes and new varieties to extend the season
  • Strawberries - about 40 plants in one long row and 3 different varieties   
  • Blackcurrants - adding 25 new bushes, more than doubling what we have now
  • Whitecurrants - 2 varieties both yielding dessert berries; 8 bushes
  • Redcurrants - 2 varieties; 7 bushes
  • Gooseberries - 4 varieties, some purple, some green (dessert and culinary); 17 bushes
  • Blackberry - 3 bushes of a thornless variety
  • Jostaberries - a hybrid between gooseberry and blackcurrant; 3 bushes
  • and, just for fun, one Gojiberry 
 Joining the Llangybi Organics PYO: We'll give preference to those who've been our veg box customers and, especially, those prepared to come and give a helping hand as we get started. During this month (March 2010), we have to plant out all the above plants. That means digging holes, adding compost and laying the mulching plastic between each row. The existing raspberries and blackcurrants need weeding and the old canes need cutting. If you're keen to join in what we hope, in years to come, will be a bonanza of delicious organic fruit, we need your help NOW! Please contact Val at Mur Crusto farm if you can spare a few hours to help out. Contact details here.

What happened to the fruit  orchard at Mur Crusto? We have around 30 apple, pear and plum trees in a little orchard we planted  8-9 years ago. Val and I have just finished pruning the trees and chopping down weeds round their bases. The sheep, under supervision (they can have a penchant for stripping bark) have been very helpful at clipping the grass (see photo on right). This orchard has not been as productive as we'd hoped but the trees are getting bigger and their fruit is improving. We hope to make some of this fruit available to PYO and veg customers. Everything depends on the weather, of course, but we've had some fine eating and cooking apples in store until early this year.

So over to you... If you're keen on our fruit scheme (in which we're investing a lot of time and money), please come and help us get it growing.

1 comment:

rosiew said...

Val and Bry - sounds like a wonderful idea. Count me in!