Thursday, 10 March 2011

Visit to Tatnam Organic Patch

Today, Sunday March 6th, four of us went on a factfinding mission to Tatnam Organic Patch in Poole, a “thriving community organic allotment, and an urban haven for wildlife, with many plants and trees introduced to raise the biodiversity.” We were made very welcome and shown round by Mark, who works as a gardener and is very keen and knowledgeable on wildlife – he was able to tell us all the species of butterflies which visit the plot and what their food plants were. He is also a keen forager and we nibbled a variety of hedgerow plants as we wandered around, the favourite being allium triquetrum which tastes like a garlicky leek. Unfortunately it is very invasive and a non-native species so we will have to think carefully about planting it.

Mike and Judy got some good advice on ponds – theirs has a butyl liner, is lined with the fibre we have been contemplating, and is fed the overflow from their water collection system. While I chatted about parsnips and the joys of sociable gardening with some volunteers, the others were shown round the greenhouse with its impressive plumbing. Rainwater harvesting is their only source of water and they have an ingenious system of hydroponics and many water containers inside and out.

They have many of the features we are planning – ponds, bees, raised beds, fruit trees, herb beds, compost area etc. It is all very relaxed and has a friendly feel. The place seems to be run on a shoestring, many things, including their large greenhouse, have been donated, they have a large fenced area where they store donations and it was pretty full, with pots, timber, windows and miscellaneous other stuff. They have an earth closet, which they say is no bother to tend and water is boiled in a storm kettle for tea – we were advised to bring our own mugs and enjoyed a hot cuppa before we set off for home with many things to mull over. Look them up here

Come along to the next Farm meeting at 7.30pm this Thursday, 10th March in Tom Brown`s to hear more about it and help us plan what to do next on our patch.

Friday, 14 January 2011

More Updates

Didn't get to tell it all last time so here's some extras.

The Pond has been dug - but not quite as planned. It was decided by the Wildlife Team that a slightly* different arrangement would be more beneficial to wildlife and be a little more aesthetically pleasing.
The main pond has been moved south about 10 feet and made about 50% bigger than originally planned. And there will now be a properly excavated runoff (which will be lined and seeded as a 'marginal' area) leading into a lower pond about 1/3 the size of the upper one. I'll get Mike to sketch the new arrangement so it can be posted. I think it'll improve that aspect of the project significantly.

Work on the chicken house has been suspended until freezing weather is less likely as any foundations for the building need to set normally.

We now have a Twitter account. If you Tweet then follow us at @UnderLancheFarm

* I understate it a little :)


Tuesday, 11 January 2011


There's been quite a lot of activity offsite so I thought it timely to say where we're at.
Workdays have been a bit sporadic but then its been Celebration Season, and the weather's been pretty miserable. Subject to climate* the next workday is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. the 6th. At present we plan to start on paths and raised veg beds. but if other projects (chicken house) want to turn up we could make a good day of it.

Andy has been in contact with his polytunnel contact and will be negotiating the best gift he can get from them for us! Once it arrives it'll be all hands to the mill to erect it.

The girls have been hard at work with a bid for some of the Big Lottery Fund money. They've worked hard to get everything in that we might need. Let's just hope the Fund like our application and come up with a few pennies.

I've been in touch with the company building the Weymouth Relief road and their contact at DCC Roads Division and have secured a gift of a whole lot** of 20mm chicken wire. They've been using it as temporary fencing. It may not be available until April but I'll keep checking in the meantime.

The National Trust have been helpful with the design of a composting toilet. Construction should be simple but we still need a small shed. If you know of one anywhere that is serviceable but surplus to requirements please get in touch.

* If it's raining or completely frozen then check first before turning up. Or just turn up on the off-chance.

** There's miles of it in use - without exaggeration - honest.


Saturday, 1 January 2011


It's been b****y cold just lately.
The Farm ended up with a good layer of snow, and under that a good layer of what might be likened to permafrost. I couldn't get a garden fork more than about 1 cm into the soil - thus scuppering any chance of achieving anything on-site over the period.
To give an idea of the weather take a look at this picture of the road outside the front of my house.
And it stayed like that for 6 days!
My parents got stuck in Tolpuddle and we ended up spending Christmas there instead of in Dorchester. No cars were getting out of their close so we parked at the top of their road.

The team hope you all had the sort of Christmas you wanted and wish you well for the coming year.