The Bennison Farm Steering Group

In mid spring we emailed our members to ask if any would be interested in joining the Steering Group for the farm. The group meets regularly to discuss different ways to support the veg share scheme. We are very pleased to say that a number of members replied, and a new Steering Group was formed in April.

When the farm started in 2012 the Steering Group helped by promoting the veg share scheme and building the membership. But now the farm is established the group are looking at different ways to support the farm.

The group has met several times throughout spring. They have helped by contributing to the quarterly newsletter and by working on a members survey.

They have also been thinking about ideas for social events, and ways to make volunteering at the farm easier.

We’ll keep you updated about the Steering Group in our newsletters, and if anyone would be interested in joining, please contact us via email – bennisonfarm@gmail.com

Many thanks to all the past members of the Steering Group. Everything you did was greatly appreciated! Thank you!

Working around the weather

It’s said that Britain has no climate, only weather, and working on the land that often rings true. After a dry summer praying for rain, we wished it would stop this winter when we had standing water all over the farm. Fortunately it was dry enough for ploughing by mid March and our plants went in the ground on time. April was then one of the driest on record so we were very glad of the rain in May, but then of course wishing it would stop just long enough to prepare for the next phase of planting!


April was also cold which meant a slow start for our early planted crops. This makes the May ‘hungry gap’ a little hungrier that usual with last years crops long gone and the new ones not quite ready. Things tend to catch up though, and by the middle of June we’ll have more than enough of everything. We’re always thankful for the polytunnels in the spring. Even when the air is cold outside, with a bit sunshine they turn spring into summer, and the early spring crops look amazing. Tunnel crops are ready around a month earlier than those outdoors and at this time of year we could always do with more polytunnels.


In general things are going to plan on the farm and we’re pretty much keeping to our schedule. The planting tends to come in waves, starting with the first polytunnel crops in March, followed in early April by potatoes, onions and crops for late spring and early summer. Mid May is busy, planting winter crops: leeks, celeriac and brussels as well as summer crops: courgettes, sweetcorn, tomatoes, aubergine, cucumber and peppers. It will then ease up a little with another big wave from late June though July. This will at least give us a little more time to keep on top of the weeds and sow seeds for the next wave.


Producing year round veg shares for a CSA scheme involves some careful planning, and timing is really important. Planting too much too early would lead to late summer and autumn gluts and not enough for the winter, but plant too late and crops won’t have enough time to mature before it gets too cold. We follow a planting schedule which is carefully planned out and tweaked each winter – always searching for the perfect balance! Of course this is only a plan and there are many things that could interrupt the schedule, so we’re always trying to think a few steps ahead and err on the side of being slightly early in case factors beyond our control make things late!