Volunteering at the work weekends at Bennison Farm – By Chris Wagland

I have always loved organic gardening.

Having been a keen advocate of organic growing methods for several decades and, due to many career related house moves, we have found much joy over the years in turning each newly acquired garden into a wildlife friendly and chemical free zone. Accordingly, having moved to Wivenhoe, I had Bennison Farm on my radar for a while, as well as carrying out house improvements and starting on another garden.

With the arrival of the first “lockdown”, our thoughts focused more towards supporting local growers rather than using supermarkets and so we decided to join the Bennison Farm scheme.  We have been very happy with the results. It’s been so nice to nip down to the pub and pick up our bag of fresh veg every week, saying hello to the chickens on the way in.  I’ve been very impressed at how clean and slug free Danny’s cabbages are, as my home grown ones usually have passengers that need to be rescued from the sink, however hard I have tried to deter them.  I clearly still have a lot to learn! 

Despite getting on a bit in years, we have, hopefully, kept reasonably fit and so we were up for helping out with the work days on the farm, where possible. So far, we have managed the June and July days and enjoyed both of them despite the weather on each day being diametrically opposed to the other! The June day was warm and sunny and Danny made us very welcome.  The time went quickly as we worked with a lovely family and could chat whilst weeding. (This can get complicated as both my husband and I are called “Chris”, but we have had to get used to that one). 

The July day was wet underfoot but dry-ish from above, so that worked out well. We were quite a large group of people, all very friendly and welcoming.  With the soil being soft and friable, the weeds came up easily, often revealing all sorts of interesting little critters to observe while working. 

It beats a gym membership any day, as far as I’m concerned.

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