Mara’s Land Diary: Day 3

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Mara is one of Cultivate’s inaugural interns, spending time with us during her summer break. This is part 3 of her diary:

Today was the most varied day yet on the land. In the morning I found myself carting bamboo stacks across the field, battling through a jungle of unruly Toms (a.k.a. tomatoes, for the uninitiated!), and then carefully harvesting parsley, snipping it here and there til I felt like a master hair-dresser of this edible landscape.

Bertie the “urban-farm dog” was back on the land today, and so the farm experience felt complete once again. What I particularly enjoy is Dan’s “Bertie Voice”, with which he “translates” all of Bertie’s thoughts for us to enjoy. Lunchtime brought a stream of phone-calls for Dan and Joe – a massive feature of setting up Cultivate appears to be a lot of phone-time! But while the Cultivators sorted logistics over the phone in the shade of the hawthorn hedge, I got to know Sarah, one of Cultivate’s fantastic non-exec Board Members. And together, Sarah and I spent the afternoon weeding, pruning and re-twining the Toms in the poly after digging up a load of ol’spring onions for Turl Street Kitchen and for the market in Abingdon.

Ah, taming the Toms! It’s a veritable labour of love. It makes you feel like an intrepid explorer making your way through a beautifully scented thicket. This was interrupted by a minor disaster which involved the poly’s “rigging” (see picture) partly collapsing under the weight of the out-of-control Toms. But Joe came to the rescue!

I emerged after a hard day’s work with green-tinged fingers, wind-swept hair, muddy hands, and a generally bedraggled look topped off with a smile on my face. All of this, unsurprisingly, prompted some quizzical looks from my fellow train passengers as I casually flicked the pages of a magazine on my way home.