5 A Day Farm
Jim McMurtry did two online talks for us earlier this year about his plans for a farm on the Marshallstown Road in Carrickfergus. There was a lot of interest in what he’s doing, and he wants the people of Carrick to get involved. We asked him to give us an update on the farm. You can follow Jim’s progress on his website and on Facebook.
Where we’re at by Jim McMurtry
It’s with a heavy heart that I must admit that no further work has been completed at the farm as we have a very large excess of water pouring right into the middle of the field, making the ground saturated and unworkable by hand, there is a plan to rectify the issue and hopefully it will be carried out swiftly.
However, we have been able to do other work collecting and ordering seeds and propagating plants from cuttings.
In order to provide the diversity that we want to see at the farm we started collecting seed heads from dead plants. It’s as simple as it sounds – wherever I see a plant gone to seed for the winter, I carefully remove the heads taking care not to damage the plant itself. With all these free seeds I intend to sow to specific beds, the identity of the plant isn’t even necessary at this point as we can easily identify them when they grow and mature, and it’s worth remembering that these are free so no matter what we get, its great!
I’ve taken multiple cuttings of various bushes for propagation in March, the intention is to take the cuttings I have (blackcurrant, redcurrant, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, mint, verbena, sage etc) and use them to slowly replace the existing hedge of non-harvestable varieties.
I have received my first seed order for the year with 45 varieties of vegetables and a few herbs – too many to list here. This means we can have a wide range of diversity and the opportunity to experiment with what grows well on our land. Where possible we intend to save the seed of the most popular, best tasting varieties so as to avoid any complications when ordering again in the future. This also boosts the plants chances of germination in the future as the seed contains genetic information about the soil it was grown in. At least one expert has stated this and ultimately it doesn’t matter to me as I just want to ensure I have an abundance of growth to feed as many people as possible. This builds in redundancy where seeds for particular plants can fetch a premium. So better to buy a few, grow them to maturity and harvest the huge amount of seeds each plant provides, guaranteeing abundance for the following season.
I have seeded 1000’s of seeds of a few varieties of vegetables in the hope that when they are ready the field will be ready to receive them.