Yesterday we went to an open day at Oakcroft organic gardens. They gave us a tremendous vegan feast and then we were taken on a tour of the gardens including two move able greenhouses from the 60's (to move them you just slide them along on their own runners). One is filled with a variety of tomatoes the other has beetroot, chard, elephant garlic and more that have slipped out of my memory.
They also have a large area of unprotected crops (see pic) such as fennel, salad leaves, carrots, potatoes, onions, cavolo nero (see pic), a really good selection, all protected with a rabbit proof fence. After the tour we were then lucky enough to have a lesson in how to make the most effective quick acting compost, by making sure you have the correct balance of carbon and nitrogen (see pic). A very enjoyable and informative day out. Oakcroft are members of Stockfree organics www.stockfreeorganic.net
Cross o’th Hill, Malpas, Cheshire, SY14 8DH
Contacts: Tim Carey 07726 266501 Mehr Fardoonji (01948) 860213
Oakcroft is the home of Mehr Fardoonji, who established the organic market garden in 1962. Mehr has now retired and has gifted the land to the Soil Association Land Trust, which aims to provide opportunities for prospective growers and farmers, and to fulfil an educational function. As from 2009 the gardens will become stockfree organic, having been taken on by Tim Carey, along with Lloyd English, both beneficiaries of VON’s stockfree bursary scheme as students at the Welsh College of Horticulture.
The growing area is 2.5 acres and includes two original moveable greenhouses. The aim is to develop the project according to a sustainable, vegan-organic model, growing as wide a range of produce through the year as possible, to be sold locally. Plans include the adoption of no-dig principles for vegetable, herb and salad production, planting more fruit/nut trees and berries, and extending measures to enhance biodiversity.