Summer is here

Is summer here? Well it certainly feels like it during the day, but still we have freezing temperatures at night. But this is Wales, where is the rain, it seems more normal now for us to have a month or so of drought in spring, at least that has been the way for at least 5 or 6 years now. We have no mains water on site, relying on rain water harvest. We have the ability to collect over 10,000 litres of rain water, but we are almost dry already. Being a sun lover, i would never wish for anything else, but the plants are getting minimal watering now while we wait for the rain to come.

But i mustn’t complain, all this dry weather has warmed the soil nicely and given us plenty of opportunity to get the ground prepared for the new season crops. We have had some fantastic wwoofers this spring. Polo has been with us for 7 weeks and left on Sunday. His English was just as good as my french (which is rubbish), so challenging at times. Thank goodness Dave speaks fluent French.

 

Polo worked hard and completed many varied jobs: starting with spring cleaning and painting the caravans; tidying and weeding the flower cutting area; planting the box hedge and the veg garden hedge; making a welly boot stand; digging and preparing veg beds; sowing seeds; tidying the nursery stock ready for sale; looking after the animals; packing eggs; harvesting veg, sorting, weighing, bagging and labeling; helping install the Rayburn burner in the barn. What a busy time, thanks Polo for all your help.


We also had French couple, Pierre and Alice for 2 weeks who cooked great meals, tidied the strawberries, prepared the veg beds and propagated lot of plants in the nursery as well as looking after the animals and packing eggs.

Shortly after from Belgium came Senne, for 10 days, he was great company for me. A trained and enthusiastic horticulturalist, so we could share many conversations about land management, plants and world pioneers and experts who are leading the way. Senna needed no managing, and fitted into the farm as if he had always been there, he saw what needed to be done and thought about solutions to our problem areas. He worked with Polo preparing beds and helped me prepare the new scented flower garden.

Things are changing fast at this time of year, everything is growing so fast and as always in spring, lots of jobs needed to be done yesterday or even last week. Although this year the field is looking good and we feel on top of tasks. The potato field is due to be planted this weekend 1.5 tonnes of Sarpo Axona blight resistant seed potatoes are arriving Friday and will be grown as seed to sell back to Sarpo potato research trust. Contractor Griff came and ploughed the field and spread the muck and then David disc harrowed it every 10 days to break it down and break the weed cycle, with our new harrow. We then got another delivery of muck for the rest of the site, it is a bit fresh so will need staking and covering for a few months.

Lots of new flowers coming ready every week now, which is lovely after the months and months of only daffs. We have alliums, cornflowers, aqualigeia, lilac and many more nearly ready. The new scented flower cutting garden is almost prepared and i hope to be planting that next week with Roses, Rosemary and Lavender with plants that i have taken from cuttings. A lot of the veg beds will be planted with their summer crops over the next week or so. With the hope that by the time they germinate and show above the ground we will be frost free. I am using the Biodinamic planting calendar and will be planting roots, leafs, flowers and fruit  on the appropriate days.

The new arrival on the land this week are the piglets, well done Mrs pig. We went down to the pen on a cold and snowy 25th April to find no sign of her coming for food, but instead cuddled up in her warm pen with 15 piglets of varying colours looking like dalmatians. Grandpa pig had been chucked out of the pen looking sorry for himself in the snow, he now has been moved to a different field. Unfortunately 2 piglets didn’t make it, so she now has 12, which is a more normal number for her to have, as she only has 14 teats. It is very easy for the small babies to get squashed and suffocated, especially with so many.

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