Ann's Farm Journal
Keep up with all of our updates from the farm including what’s new in season!
It needs to be a lot colder!
Let’s be truly British and talk about the weather…it has been glorious. We have just had a beautiful week of fine crisp days with clear blue skies. Beautiful sunrises and even more beautiful sunsets (as seen above). We have had days of nine degrees which is near tropical during January. This is all great for long walks or for generally going about your business. Also good if you wanted to tend the garden. However, here’s the but, some cold weather is essential to lots of things we grow. Our fruit trees - apple, plum and pear trees, all need a period of cold weather. They become dormant during the cold and allow us to prune the trees which gives (fingers crossed) a better harvest the following autumn. The cold weather and darker days make fruit trees enter a process called ‘vernalisation’ which ensures the tree becomes dormant. From dormancy it then is able to ‘come into’ spring growth and then to bloom.
Some plants use the cold snap to convert any starch, stored during the previous summer/autumn season, into sugar. This sugar is the plants food and will help it to grow while the daylight is less and weak as it is the daylight which the plant needs for photosynthesis, i.e. growth. This is how we overwinter our crops…we plant during the late summer or early autumn, allow the plant to grow and collect starch in its cupboards, so to speak. The plant can go to the cupboard in the winter and convert its starch into the lovely sugary foods and continue to slowly grow. Without the cold the plant is unable to do this.
Bulbs also need a good cold snap. Without the cold, bulbs will not ‘throw up’ the stems. During warmer times bulbs go through a process called ‘baking’ When new bulbs are formed. They then need the colder weeks, at least ten weeks of cold weather, in order to make the bulb grow successfully. Our garlic is planted during the winter months in order for them to use the cold to help elongate the stems. We have some green bits showing but a good cold snap would prove helpful.
There is also that old tale of the cold killing off the bugs and germs. Good idea. All the little bugs and animals need to know it is winter to, either, die off or become dormant. Without this happening the life cycle of these little creatures could be scuppered and so the pests and predators we need in our gardens will just not appear when we need them. We rely on the whole ecosystem to play its part in the production of our crops.
So, to be honest, I would like a bit of the cold weather to be thrown at us. I do like seasonal weather.
This week Graham and Lucy have helped with the chicken run. It is being organised so that we can move the girls around the huge pen. This will allow areas of the pen to have a break from the chickens and regrow the grasses.
Lucy has been filling in the new herb garden area with a good layer of cardboard followed by a very generous layer of compost. This will be ready for us to transfer existing herbs and sow out new herbs ready for the summer and you our lovely customers.
Speaking of lovely customers, welcome to our new customers who have tried our box of goodies for the first time. Last week was another huge week of customers, may I make a suggestion that you order asap. We are continuing our ‘Midnight Monday’ cut off for ordering. Thank you for all your orders, for the lovely emails and messages, gifts and kind words to Bob and I this last week. Bob and I feel that with all this good feedback, we must be doing ok.
Just so you know, Bob, the Crew and myself do test ourselves regularly for Covid and we will follow procedures if we do test positive. Thankfully we are constantly negative on testing. Thank you for informing us if you are having to isolate…. What a blinking nuisance!
Take Care and Stay Safe,