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Comparing an organic farm to our allotment.


Several times over the summer and sometimes at other times of year too, I help out at an organic farm in Lode, near Cambridge. Many of the things we grow are similar. Beans, Courgettes, Squashes, Potatoes and many more.

While not good for Paul, (the farm owner) it was somewhat gratifying to have it confirmed that the lack of courgettes so far is not my fault but is down to the cold weather earlier in the year. The farm is currently producing about 75Kg a week rather than 250Kg/week. I would guess our production is down by a similar factor.

In contrast, Garlic on our allotment has been one of our best years for a while. Partly having got it planted on time rather than late but also I suspect the particular weather combination we have had.

It remains to be seen how much damage has been done by the hailstones just over two weeks ago which have put holes in nearly all of our apples and severely damaged the squashes which are already running late for the same reason as the courgettes. Onions are better than last year but still not up to the standard of our best years.

Garlic is an important herb medicinally, having been used in the past to treat intestinal worms. (These are rare now due to much higher standards of animal husbandry.) It is also thought to increase resistance against many infections and has been used for this over centuries.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine

Gives a list of conditions that it thinks Garlic may be effective for along with another list that it probably isn’t effective for.

With soft fruit we have had a good harvest in terms of quantity but some fruits such as gooseberries seem to have thicker skins this year which I suspect is down to the dry weather earlier in the year.

Another commonality between both sites is bees! This is the one area where the allotment has more than the farm! – 8 hives as against 5.

Sadly one of the colonies on the farm may not survive due to having been invaded by wasps. I have lost a colony to this in the past. I hope that the measures taken will prevent any other colonies going the same way.

Whatever the exact details, (some of the research gives contradictory results.) I believe that growing food in a way that looks after and feeds the soil without resorting to dangerous chemicals is a way of improving not just my own health but that of those who produce my food too. This is as important as the use of massage and aromatherapy which I am seeing more and more as a part of keeping healthy rather than just treating problems after they occur.

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