Spring is springing! Our propagation tunnel (now situated at Oakbrook farm) is bursting at the seams with brassicas, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, beans and beetroot. Today we even placed some of our first brassica crops outside to harden-off before we plant them in the fields. If you find yourself walking from town past this tunnel (it’s on the left as you walk up the footpath from town), please feel free to pop in and take a look. At the moment, the other half of the tunnel is full of very vibrant salad leaves, which are bolting in the heat and will soon be removed to make space for beetroot.
In February we sowed one of our polytunnels with an early crop of carrots. Every fortnight subsequently we have been sowing radish in between the rows of carrots to give us a nice early crop of successional radishes to help oversee the hungry gap. The carrots and radishes have germinated nicely. We now need to stay on top of the weeds!
We also planted the first of this season’s crops in one of our polytunnels – a red and green oak-leaf lettuce for our salad mix. These were planted in the polytunnel in such a way that they will be intersown with the tomatoes (which will be planted in the tunnel in a few weeks/a month’s time). Intersowing means that we maximise the use of our tunnels, it also avoids a monoculture and planting early salads in our polytunnels ensures that we have some of our own crops during the hungry gap.
We will be soon sowing flowers, additional tomatoes, successional lettuce, more brassicas, cucumbers and courgettes. We will also begin direct sowing and planting the first of our outdoor veg of the season. This includes carrots, cauliflowers and ‘pick-your-own’ kale.
Spring is an exciting time on the farm. The sheep are due to lamb, the cows go out onto the fields again and we are busy cultivating the fields ready for planting.
The cows are all doing well, but we are going to downsize the herd a bit this year due to the uncertainty of our tenure at the Brookthorpe farm. However, the cows we are selling aren’t going far. They will be literally crossing the road and heading to Hammonds farm where they will be the start of a new herd. As you might know over the last few years, we have been moving towards breeding pedigree traditional Hereford cattle and this winter we sold our first home bred pedigree bull. Brookwood Vincent went off to a lovely farm in Berkshire where he will hopefully sire many calves.
At the end of January, we had a litter of 12 piglets! Super sow Rosanne, managed to raise all 12 and they are now living in the paddock by the Hawkwood packing shed and growing like weeds!