As the snow continued to fall, silently covering the earth in a mantle of white, Cara briefly caste her eyes skyward, then returned to her downward gaze and continued with sowing in her seeds.
No Cara’s not slightly barmy, she’s head grower at Growing with Grace near Settle. It is a operation set up over 15 years ago and now managed as a shareholding Industrial & Provident Society producing a wide range of both traditional and unusual crops from its 5 large greenhouses. It is these greenhouses that make Growing With Grace so different and provide the opportunity to try to push the boundaries of what can be grown in North Yorkshire – such as experimenting with peaches and grapes, as well as growing salads through the winter.
They also have a major impact on the timing of sowings. You have to think out of sync with what might be going on in the outside world. I was there on the last day of January and Cara was making her first sowings of the season, both directly into the ground protected by the greenhouses and, for crops such as beans, first into seed trays to be planted out later. The fact that it was snowing outside was potentially good news. Providing the weather didn’t turn into a prolonged cold spell, what she was sowing would thrive under the protection of the glass with the air quickly warmed as any sunshine broke through. In the meantime the outside world would be struggling with cold wet soils!
If there was a prolonged cold spell then any advantage would be minimal as the cold would creep into the greenhouses no problem and a new sowing would have to be made. But, what the heck, as she said, ‘I’ll have only wasted a packet of seed and sowing seeds makes me feel good about myself and everyone else.’ As it says on the Growing With Grace website, the aim is ‘a working environment that respects and nurtures all people be they employees, volunteers, customers or members of the community, and recognising the interconnectedness of the goodness within us all.’
In the meantime……….director man, Neil, was traipsing around in the snow repairing and replacing panes of glass broken in earlier winter. What a job – handling large panes of glass – in those temperatures and the wind whipping across the Dales. Made me shiver just to watch him!
For more see Growing With Grace
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