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Spring 2016

Spring Farm Report

farm-news

I am writing this farm report sitting in beautiful sunshine, the birds are singing and insects are buzzing in the air. It feels like spring is here. The sunshine is a welcome break from all the rain.
We are expecting lambs in the next week or two, they are at our Brookthorpe farm. I have given them access to the barn should the weather turn foul. However if it continues like this they will lamb outside. You are welcome to come and visit them. While you are there you will also be able to see the calves we have had so far, they love racing up and down the barn.

sheepWe have a group of young pigs outside at Hawkwood some of you may have seen, they are doing a useful job of breaking up the clover lay before we plant potatoes in April. Their manure helps to fertilize the ground while saving us the task of ploughing.

Something that has taken up quite a bit of time and energy this winter is our part in the Hammonds Farm lot 3 planning process, we are working with others to plan the future of this piece of land. Now that the BDLT have secured the land work turns towards exploring how and who will use the land. Several people have put forward projects which they would like to start on lot 3, including our very own starter farm. Alongside this SCA has requested some land to grow vegetables on as well as a micro dairy, care farm, herb garden are just some of the projects looking to make lot 3 their home.

Something that has taken up quite a bit of time and energy this winter is our part in the Hammonds Farm lot 3 planning process, we are working with others to plan the future of this piece of land. Now that the BDLT have secured the land work turns towards exploring how and who will use the land. Several people have put forward projects which they would like to start on lot 3, including our very own starter farm. Alongside this SCA has requested some land to grow vegetables on as well as a micro dairy, care farm, herb garden are just some of the projects looking to make lot 3 their home.

Farmer Sam Hardiman

News from the Veggie Fields

carrotWe have been slowly slogging our way through the sodden fields, steadily harvesting the winter veg. It has been so wet this winter that some of the cabbages roots had begun to rot! The good news is that there are a lot of leeks and cabbages left at the Brookthorpe farm, and plenty of salad and chard in the polytunnels at Hawkwood - but alas, there's not so much of anything else! The purple sprouting broccoli matured very early in the winter, when we were expecting it to sprout much later, and so we have little at this time of year when we most need it.

leeksWe are heading towards that time in the veggie year known as the “hungry gap”, a time when all of the winter veg has finished but none of the new crops have matured. During this time we buy in extra veg to make up the veg shares. We try to get produce from as local as possible, but sometimes buy produce that comes from afar afield as Italy and Spain. We are fortunate in that there are some local organic growers who grow in heated glass houses so we can get veg from them. In anticipation of the coming warmth and light we have sown thousands of seeds into trays in the greenhouse in the walled garden at Brookthorpe. These trays are kept on heated benches to keep worst of the cold off. The peppers and tomato seedlings are grown under artificial light on their own heated bench, covered with plastic, heated to 20 deg c. All of these seedlings will be planted out in the polytunnels and fields at Hawkwood as the weather warms and the soil dries out. The first crops sown in the polytunnels in February were the carrots and radish. The pigs have been kept out on what will be the potato ground at Hawkwood since January. They have done a marvelous job of digging over the clover growing there. We have moved them regularly round the plot to limit the damage they may do to the soil if they dig it too much. It’s great to see them outside doing what they enjoy most, rooting around and eating. Bring on the warm dry spring!

Farmer Mark Harrison