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Farm News March 2020

2020-03-18

Down on the farm early spring 2020

After a wet, windy yet mild winter we’re coming out of it unscathed on the farm and providing we have no late hard frosts we’ll have had a trouble free winter. We can consider ourselves fortunate compared to many other parts of the country.

We suffered no wind damage in the various late winter storms and as we enjoy light predominantly well drained soil we can get onto the land quite quickly after rain fall.

Spring certainly seems to be arriving on the farm, some of the thorn hedges are breaking into leaf in places with the Gooseberries, Blueberries and Blackberries showing strong bud development and I’ve noticed the birds are busy thinking about nesting and singing away as I do crop walks around the farm.

At the weekend, whilst meeting with local beekeepers interested in siting some honey bee colonies on the farm this year it was encouraging to see so many visitors outdoors, enjoying and making use of the play area, outside seating areas, feeding the goats or just having a wander around some of the plots on the farm and taking in the fresh air and open surroundings available.

We’ve sown our first Bean crop at the end of last month with the second to follow in the next week or ten days. These will be ready for PYO around mid June onwards. The Peas are yet to be sown but they will also be available this year from mid June onwards.

The indoor Strawberries (hopefully ready around early/mid May) have been cleaned up with all last years foliage and runners pruned off. We’re currently starting to prune the outdoor plants now. Last year saw the first full year where our outdoor Strawberries had moved to table top production. By moving to table top production and raising above the ground it’s allowing us to bring the plants up to a height that ergonomically makes husbandry and harvesting easier and more comfortable. It also removes many of the weed and disease pressures that are encountered when growing in the soil. The outdoor strawberry table tops should hopefully be ready from around mid June onwards with a remaining field grown crop also being ready around mid June onwards.

As yet we’re still a bit off from seeing any signs of life from the Asparagus, but this changes very rapidly once it starts moving and we’d anticipate, weather depending, being able to offer our first cuts around mid to late April.

The Raspberry canes have been pruned and trained over the winter months and we hope to see our first cropping around mid June.

The first available crop this year will be the Rhubarb and at the time of writing I hope to be starting the harvest around the last week of March.

There’s much to enjoy and do over the coming months at the Balloon Tree and we welcome seeing you all enjoying the outdoors whilst doing some PYO or in the shop buying some of our pre-picked fruit if time is more pressing.

Farmer Will. (12th March 2020)

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