Syntropic Update: 6 weeks after planting

Section 1, 6 weeks after planting

We have harvested all the rocket and radish, which were the fastest growing items in the beds. Coriander will need to be harvested in the next 1-2 weeks, as they are ready to go as well as the remainder of the lettuces. We have already been selling radish, rocket, coriander, dill, lettuce and endive, and in the next couple of weeks we can see parsley, beetroot and celery coming on.

Any produce other than root vegetables is cut low to the ground with a knife, in order to leave the root mass in the soil. This root mass then releases a growth hormone which stimulates the growth of the surrounding plants. Plants growing in the syntropic section cannot go to seed as that will stimulate other plants around it to go to seed, so anything approaching flowering stage is cut and harvested, regardless of whether there is a market for it (hence kilos of rocket made into pesto…).

Here are the numbers:

100 lettuces sold
13 bunches coriander sold
5 bunches dill sold
400gr rocket sold, 4.2kg rocket made into pesto
2kg radish sold, 2kg consumed on the farm
1.5kg pak choi harvested, consumed on the farm

Last week we also planted out the second section. We planted over 2000 seedlings in 5 beds. This section has 4 vegetable rows instead of the 3 of section 1. We planted a minimum of 8 different species in each bed to ensure there is enough diversity for soil stimulation and bug distraction.

There were 5 weeks in between planting section 1 and section 2, due to having to wait to get seedlings. Bed preparation is also very slow as each bit needs to be dug, de-stoned and turned, grass clumps removed and then composted and mulched. As only Tom is digging at the moment, it is taking a long time for each bed to be done. We only have a very thin layer of top soil in that area, underneath that it is compacted shale, hence the need for digging. Otherwise the plants’ roots would have nowhere to go.

We are expecting to continue harvesting from our first section for another several weeks. By then the second section will have grown to a point where we can start harvesting, and hopefully then also we can start planting out section 3.


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