Posts Tagged ‘market gardening’

Earthing up the spuds

April 3, 2014

Potatoes grow the tubers underground but they are shallow rooted and the new potatoes can be very near or even poking out above the surface. If that happens the new tuber turns green and is not good to eat. From the grower and consumer point of view it is important to keep those new and developing spuds in the dark.

The simple way of doing this is to drag earth from the gaps between the rows of plants and pile it up higher close by them. It’s a process called earthing up.

If you are a domestic gardener you probably earth up with something like a draw hoe. It may be a bit small for the job but with only a garden’s worth to do it just isn’t worth investing in a specialist tool.

However, if you are a market gardener, working on a field   scale then you need a proper tool for the job. These days, no doubt, you’d   have something tractor hauled. Back in the 19th century, potato   earthing would have been done by hand with a tool like this.

This long handled tool could be dragged between the rows   and its shape and angle moved earth to the edge, making sure those growing   tubers were well covered.


19th century potato earther

The length of the handle helped to make sure that the   metal blade did not dig deep into the ground and the slightly enlarged bob on   the end of the handle helped to make sure the earther didn’t slide from the user’s hands.

It was hard work. By the time this tool had been dragged   over an acre of land then the user would have walked some five miles or more,   all the time dragging earth.

No wonder frequent stops were needed and drinks taken.

After use the tool would have been carefully cleaned, the   blade would have been oiled and so, too would the handle, although the oil   used was linseed in that case.

You can see this late 19th century tool in the trades room at Market Lavington Museum.

Garden sprayers – Market Lavington Museum

April 28, 2010

Once upon a time, Market Lavington, Easterton and Fiddington were all fruit growing areas. A new display of insecticide sprayers at Market Lavington Museum remembers this time.

Garden sprayers or syringes at Market Lavington Museum

The sprayers were all found at an address on Kings Road which was the site of one of the first of the late nineteenth century fruit farms. This was set up by Samuel Saunders whose family had been prominent in the parish for much of the century. In fact, Samuel may well have been in his 70s when he set up his fruit farm.

No doubt his employee, young Samuel Moore, did much of the work. Samuel Moore later found fame as the founder of the Easterton Jam factory.

It could be that in his early days, Samuel Moore used these sprayers.

Market Gardening at Fiddington

April 22, 2010

Most people who live in Market Lavington or Easterton will think of Fiddington as the area with a forty year old housing estate called Fiddington Clay. In fact, Fiddington was a long thin strip between Market Lavington and Easterton. There is still a Fiddington Farm up on the sands, to the north and once upon a time there was a Fiddington Farm on the chalk lands of Salisbury Plain to the south.

To add confusion to the situation, until 1884, Fiddington belonged to West Lavington but parish boundaries were then made more sensible and Fiddington was shared between Market Lavington and the new parish of Easterton.

The Fiddington clay area was always a good place for Market Gardening. In the 1930s new greenhouses were in operation in the area as these postcards we have in Market Lavington Museum show.

Greenhouses at Fiddington, Market Lavington about 1930

Interior of Fiddington greenhouse

The cards say W. C. Crisp and N. D. Hort Fruit and Flower Farm, Market Lavington. If anybody can tell us more about the people or the fruit farm then please contact us on or as a message on this blog.

Market gardening is still carried out at Fiddington but these days the rather more prosaic poly tunnels are used.