Impressive results on pumpkins and squashes at spadework

Mike Ashby – Horticulture and Ecology Manager at spadework

Spadework is a charity providing opportunities to adults with learning and other disabilities based in Offham, Kent. They grow a lot of their produce on their 5 acre site, following organic guidelines using homemade feeds and organic only fertiliser. They do not use pesticides, herbicides or fungicides other than those that mother nature provides in the field.

The last two years has been tough on the charity, as a vast majority of their trainees had to shield from the pandemic. This year they had to focus on an event which would lift the spirits of their trainees and pumpkin growing is always top of the list. They have grown 33 varieties of pumpkins ranging from carving to decorative and well regarded culinary varieties from different parts of the world, as they love to celebrate diversity.


Why Ecoworm Humate?

“We are conscious of our impact to the environment and the produce which spadework provides to our community. We wanted to identify a product that met and exceeded organic standards that would support the growth of plants onsite, whilst encouraging soil biology and improving the soils condition. We are working on a 5 year project to ensure that soil life is improved by our growing and horticultural practices rather than tilled and hindered.”


Application 

“We have used the feed on a fortnightly application, this has been applied by overhead sprinkling or watered on by hand for some of our smaller squashes growing in beds. The fertiliser has not been mixed with other fertilisers, except on alternative weeks we apply an organic seaweed feed and homemade nettle tea.”  


Results

“We still have a number of weeks before the pumpkins and squashes slow in the growing season, the pictures should speak for themselves. You can see me pictured holding a Piena Di’Napoli squash which has detached a little early, we have considerably bigger and multiple fruit still on the vine. The pictures also show a number of different spots, which we have utilised for growing the pumpkins, including our wild growing area using straw as a mulch and various weeds in place to assist with pollinators and beneficial insects.

We are currently ahead in terms of fruit size from last year and crops are encouragingly heavy and linear, our disease resistance across the crops has been relatively strong and we are aware upon talking to other suppliers that the growing season has taken it’s toll this year, which we have not noticed. We are certainly happy with our first year applying Ecoworm Humate and look forward to more field tests in the future.”

– Mike Ashby (Horticulture and Ecology Manager at spadework)
www.spadework.org.uk