Godney Aquaponics

Godney Aquaponics
In the village of Godney, with the beautiful back drop of the Glastonbury Tor, Melv and Sal are embarking on a new venture. Fed up with the poor quality of veg in the shops, they have the ambition to set up an aquaponics system to provide fresh vegetables and salad crops for the village, and with a little help from their hens a supply of fresh free range eggs too.

What is Aquaponics??

What is Aquaponics??
Aquaponics is a sustainable method of producing quality food with minimal external inputs. It is a system that combines conventional aquaculture (e.g. fish in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. Water from the aquaculture system is fed to the hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down and are utilised by the plants as nutrients, and the water is then re-circulated back to the aquaculture system.

Saturday 26 October 2019

A real delight, just in time for halloween

A real delight indeed - earlier this month in amongst all the leafy growth of the horseradish there was something rather special peeping through and ready to be harvested.

Melv delves into the undergrowth to clear the leaves...

and in doing so reveals the bold, bulbous, smooth, chestnut form of a squash, this time the variety is a butternut which is one of the most well known.

This year we grew Waltham, one of the most popular winter butternut varieties, a thick-necked, uniform specimen with pale yellow to tan skin and sweet orange dense flesh. Sweet, moist and nutty tasting, the flavour is a little like sweet potatoes, or some say, butterscotch. With a dense flesh, you get more servings per fruit than you might with other squash varieties. The rind is edible (cooked), but it's more commonly peeled away. The seeds are edible, too, best either raw or roasted and the of course the hens love them!

We are also growing some rather unusual varieties and they too were ready to be harvested...
The red Uchiki Kuri also known as the Japanese Red Onion squash, (‘kuri’ is a Japanese term for squash), this is a winter squash with small bright orange pumpkin-like fruits that have a nutty flavour and a taste highly recommended. Deep red flesh, much like the skin, they have a very fragrant taste when roasted as an accompanying vegetable, but also delicious for soups.

Black Futsu (the large green one above), is a rare black Japanese squash. The fruit are round with a flattened top and have heavy ribbing. The black of the mature fruit turns a rich chestnut colour whilst in storage. The flesh is golden and has the rich taste of hazelnuts, even the knobbly skin tastes delicious after roasting and compliments the sweet and treacly flesh.

Sunburst is a beautiful yellow patty pan squash. One of the smaller varieties it is a versatile little squash and makes for some delightful summer and winter recipes. It can be grilled, fried, or oven-roasted. Patty pans impart a somewhat buttery flavour, although some think they taste a little more like olive oil.

A barrow of loveliness fresh from the field that can be enjoyed right through the autumn and winter, and potentially well into the new year.

In full readiness for Halloween, which is traditionally known as the time of the pumpkin, (pumpkin is a type of squash), these delightful fruits are now on the menu of the Sheppey Inn, served roasted with sumac spice, (which has a lemony, tangy flavour), accompanied by tahini yogurt and our collard greens - delicious. A real demonstration of the opportunity that the changing seasons can offer and the delights that each one brings. Used locally by local businesses, a true celebration of locally grown British seasonal vegetables - can food get any better.

Sunday 13 October 2019

The little 'uns are growing up fast

Now just over 8 weeks old, the young bantams are really finding their feet and growing up fast.

But it is lovely to see that they are still not too old to be brooded, as one quietly cuddles up under mum!

Thursday 3 October 2019

A Ray of Sunshine

As we watch the weather turn, zip up our overalls and on days like today reach for our waterproofs, there is something about harvesting chillies that gives you a welcome warm feeling inside.

Relative to a number of other vegetables that we grow in the polytunnel, chillies come to fruition a little later and their vibrant colour are a welcome sight on an autumn day when the light levels are much reduced.

We now have quite a nice selection, including Hot Lemon, Apache, Scotch Bonnet and Freshno, which provide a range of tastes and degrees of heat  suitable for a number of different dishes. So far our favourite has to be the yellow scotch bonnet, which is sweet, hot and very flavoursome, followed very closely behind by the citrus yellow of the hot lemon - delicious.

Home grown

Now normally with our horticultural hats on when we talk about home grown we are refering to vegetables. But for the first time since we hav...