Chayo’s blog

Chayo is one of our Kickstarter apprentices, and we have three more positions available, if you are aged 16-24 years old, claiming Universal Credit and able to get to WA14 3RB independently. See here for our job description.

Hey guys, my name’s Chayo, and I’m a kickstarter apprentice at Reddy Lane Market Garden.

I’ve been working here on the farm for about 8 weeks (3 days a weeek) doing a bunch of different jobs around the place.

For the past few weeks, aside from all of the veg box stuff which I’ll get onto in a bit, there’s been a lot of seed sowing and planting going on. This, coupled with the harvesting of all the leeks, purple sprouting broccoli and red russian kale (all of which ended up in the veg boxes), meant preparing the beds where these crops once were before we could plant or sow new plants.

Preparing the beds is one of my favourite jobs on the farm, I find I can really get in the zone doing jobs like broadforking soil, shovelling compost to spread over the beds and getting an even spread with the rake (or as even as possible without spending a few decades on the job).

I enjoy the process of familiarizing myself with the tools I’m using, and figuring out the most efficient way to handle them. This focus helps me keep my energy up, by avoiding postures which put the strain on my joints, instead looking for ways to incorporate muscle into the movement. This way I don’t injure myself but also get more of a workout, which is always a good thing, and surprisingly helps to keep me energized and motivated, when compared to more static jobs where I’m hunched over in variations of the same position for a while. The process of figuring out how to shovel faster, or use the broadfork quicker, fascinates me in the same way martial arts often have: finding a way to turn each thrust of the shovel into a circular and fluid movement, noticing how using a completely kinetic approach instead of one where the body stays static with the arms like pendulums spreads the weight and workload throughout your body instead of being concentrated in your knees and back… stuff like that. I’m not sure how much faster Lindsay and Adie think I am as a result of it, but it definitely feels faster to me at least, so I think I’ll keep at it… maybe just avoiding raking the new soil to a pedantic degree. Anyways!

Once these beds are prepared comes the jobs of planting the crops, which involves using the dibber to create the holes and then shimmy-ing the beetroot or radish seedlings out of their seedtrays, and popping them in. This was a bit of a nightmare at first, just because there were so many seedlings to do and it was taking me about two minutes getting one out, but after a while I got used to how delicate you actually had to be, and found that watering the trays before getting them out made the whole thing miles easier.

My proudest moment when it comes to planting these things was when I set myself the challenge of doing horse-stance (an exercise where you basically squat at a 90 degree angle and see how long you can hold it) for the whole process of doing the holes along the bed. This was pretty hard but it actually made the whole thing a lot faster, since I was in a much better position relative to the beds, and I could shift to the side continuously as I made the holes, instead doing a few and then stopping to move onto the next set. Luckily it was one of the last jobs that day and I wasn’t cycling home so my legs were spared after this ordeal! I don’t reckon I’m going to be doing that again any time soon though.

So those were two slightly in-depth descriptions of some of the jobs that I’ve been doing. I tried to make it as interesting as possible for you, just as I try make it as interesting as possible for myself, because once I start daydreaming too much then the work takes so much longer to get done, and that’s not really fun for anybody.

Tiny terror Willow (photo by Alison Groves)

That being said, on the longer days there is the positive side that the tiny terror Willow (Lindsay’s dog) tends to give up on chasing the stick and settles by the shed, if you’ve thrown it far enough enough times. And just as Willow goes for her nap and calls it a day, I think I’ll leave it at that for this blog post. I hope this gave some insight into what I do at Reddy Lane, and how I view it.

Thanks for reading, and have a nice day!
Peace

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