Autumn Farm news (2022)

Veggie fields

September is here and summer already seems on its way out. This season on the farm has been as busy as ever. During nearly 2 months of drought a lot of our time and energy went into irrigating crops and protecting them from this incredible heat. Luckily it started raining again after what seemed like a lifetime. This means that crops have started growing again, but inevitably so have the weeds.

bean

Summer crops are now coming to an end. There are still tomatoes, beans and courgettes coming but the bulk of them have gone. Our cucumbers did not fare well this season due to the extreme heat and no overhead irrigation – cucumbers like it humid. There is still plenty of chard, spinach and kale on the ‘Pick Your Own’ patch for members to pick! The flowers this season were brief but beautiful – we prioritised watering food crops during drought. We definitely have the squash harvest to look forward to!

We are still having trouble with couch grass in many of our fields. Our beautiful team of work sharers and volunteers (join us on Wednesday mornings!) have been bravely tackling it down in Brentlands farm where we are hoping to grow all our field scale vegetables next season. There is also the wireworm to deal with of course…

On a more positive note, we have converted our first polytunnel into permanent beds and minimum tillage. Come take a look! First crops – overwintering salads – have already gone in. We are hoping to convert the rest of the tunnels in the next year. This will hopefully help build fertility, reduce compaction and make them easier to manage.

Animal news

Autumn is here, gone are the long, dry, extremely hot days, replaced by cooler, showery days, with heavy dew, a distinct chill in the early morning air.

For months the grass hasn’t grown at all, fields cut for hay in June grew little more than a couple of inches. This made grazing our animals quite tricky. We came very close to feeding hay meant for winter feed to the animals. Thankfully now, it has started growing, hopefully it continues for a while to build up a reserve for winter grazing.

Our sheep are currently down in Brookthorpe, on the grazing land we have down there.

Just recently, our amazing sow Rosanne had a litter of 14 super cute piglets! Please feel free to visit them, they are in the farmyard at Hawkwood but please don’t enter their pen, and remember the fence is electric! Our mother cows are grazing at Hawkwood with Lucifer the bull. Although not as cute as piglets, (arguably a matter of opinion) they can also be visited remembering to take care around the animals.

cute piglets