Focus on: a No-Dig vegetable market garden in Devon

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We are proud to supply Spindlebrook Farm, a No-Dig vegetable market garden in Devon, with their peat-free compost. They grow delicious vegetables and salads, ecologically produced without the use of tilling or heavy machinery. Hen Anderson explains more about their ethos:

What does a no-dig approach entail?

“Exactly what it says – no digging! Our focus is on nurturing healthy soil to produce plants that are full of vitality. One way we do this is through the dense transplanting of large seedlings. This helps suppress weeds, rather than having to dig weeds up. It is a bio-intensive way to grow that also doesn’t use any harmful chemicals.”

What type of vegetables do you grow at Spindlebrook?

“Spindlebrook Farm cultivates tasty things that are hard to grow but people love. We mainly grow salad leaves and salad vegetables such as peppers, aubergines and tomatoes. Where possible we use heritage or open-pollinated varieties. They are not necessarily as consistent or predictable as hybrid varieties but are worth it for the flavour.”

What’s your favourite variety?

“The beefsteak tomato ‘Pink Brandywine’ is probably the best tomato I’ve ever tasted. One was as large as my head!”

No-dig vegetable Brandywine Tomato copyright Spindlebrook Farm
Hen and her enormous Brandywine Tomato! – copyright Spindlebrook Farm

What gardening challenges do you face?

“We may be in South Devon, but we are north-facing and at the bottom of a valley, so the frost tends to stick around longer than is helpful. It’s also a real wind tunnel, for easterlies in particular. But we’ve developed ways to combat these climatic conditions.”

How long have you been using Fertile Fibre peat-free compost?

“We’ve been using Fertile Fibre since 2016. We had tried a few other peat-free compost suppliers, but germination wasn’t great and often, when seeds were germinating, they just didn’t last.”

Why do you use Fertile Fibre compost?

“It gives us peace of mind. Fertile Fibre provides a high germination rate and strong, sturdy seedlings. We know the seedlings aren’t going to show signs of stress after only a couple of weeks of being in their cell trays.”

How does our compost cope with your paper pot transplanter system?

“Really well! We save time as we don’t have to sieve Fertile Fibre seed compost before putting it in the small paper ‘cells’ that divide up the plants.”

Intrigued? Find out more in Incredible Innovations from overseas – introducing the Japanese paper pot transplanter

No-dig vegetable - lettuce in paper cells copyright Spindlebrook Farm
Lettuce being grown in paper ‘cells’
– copyright Spindlebrook Farm

What’s a good tip when using Fertile Fibre?

“Don’t compress it too much!”

Have you a favourite compost mix?

“The Fertile Fibre potting mix is great for us. Our style of gardening means that we want many of our transplants as mature as possible in their trays before putting them out in the garden. They are happy to do this in Fertile Fibre without the need for more fertilizer.”

What’s next for Spindlebrook Farm?

“We’ve just finished a dedicated propagation polytunnel. We’re looking forward to making the most of it this summer by selling potted herbs locally, as well as our no-dig vegetables and salad.”

Find out more about this innovative spot on the Spindlebrook Farm website.

No-dig vegetable - carrots copyright Spindlebrook Farm
Some impressive no-dig carrots – copyright Spindlebrook Farm

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