I've tried to do a lot of learning over the summer. The way I figure is that I invested a lot of time to learn to become a carpenter, well if I want to be a market gardener then I need to invest some time into learning how to do that properly.
I'd left that day feeling totally inspired and armed with his email and some pretty patchy communications between the two of us we'd managed to stay in contact. I was dead keen to go back up there and "help out" if he could put up with me for a day. Luckily we found a day we could both do (last Thursday).
So I set out early in the morning and drove up to near Ironbridge to pester Phil with questions all day!
The idea was that I'd shadow him for the day and see how he operates. doing some jobs with him and asking lots of questions as we did them!
|Picking and washing carrots|
It was amazing just to be back in that walled garden, and we were joined by four volunteers who come once a week to help out with some of the bigger tasks, they were doing a great job of weeding huge areas! I could have done with them at mine!
|Big stands of herbs growing ready for picking|
|The gardens were looking good!|
|Sweet corn that we'd harvested that morning|
|Edible flowers for sale|
|Another doorway into another garden on the estate|
|Polytunnel full of tomatoes that we pruned.|
I went with a list in my head of what I wanted to find out and I feel that I came away with the answers I needed, mainly about pricing and marketing of some of the more unusual things I grow here. But also other things I hadn't really thought of selling and how I should set up areas of my little homestead. I need to establish more areas of perennial herbs and plants that can be a good fall back if other crops fail. He had huge stands of herbs around the place and I'm thinking I'd much rather have that than the huge stands of nettles I've got at the moment! I'll be sheeting some areas over ready for planting in next spring outside of my normal garden area.
When I got back I was really fired up about the whole thing, I got straight on the phone and spoke to a local restaurant to arrange a meeting and to drop off a big box of veggies for them to try. Hopefully I'm going to speak to them and see what type of things they'd be interested in if I started to grow a few things for them next year. I didn't feel confidant enough before as I had no idea what some things should be priced at and didn't want to go in without some of the answers to obvious questions. .
Hopefully Phil and I are going to keep in contact and swap growing tips, marketing advice as well as seeds and plants in the future.
A great day and I really appreciate his time in trying to make me a better gardener!