Ann's Farm Journal

Keep up with all of our updates from the farm including what’s new in season!

Neat and Tidy

Neat and Tidy

Hello Everyone,

Hope you are all very well and enjoying Bank Holiday numero uno of the month of May.

Above are our beautiful radishes, which were in your veg boxes last week. Bob and I are allocated the ones that didn't pass the quality test. We were nibbling the sub standard (they still taste great) radish just like sweeties. I have also been making a relish of radish, cucumber, red onion, sour cream or cream fraiche and a little grated hard cheese. Absolutely delicious! On Friday night I made a cauliflower curry (again we get the sub standard ones,  but they are still perfect for curry). The radish became a raita which was great as an accompaniment - add mint instead of cheese. Enjoy, however you munch them. 

Last Wednesday Defra allowed birds to return to normal as a result of bird avian flu restrictions being lifted. Our chickens will, however, remain inside the huge pen we constructed (which is now one year old). They have lots of room to roam as the area is well above the size needed to still be classed as "free range" and before long the grass and herb seeds which Graham sowed a few weeks ago will be lush. The girls will be pecking at the new growth shortly. The ducks on the other hand are delighted to be ducking and diving in the pond. It is really good to see them on the water. They love to be clean and preened. They are a totally white duck and after the first dip in the pond they seem even whiter, lily white. In contrast the black moor hens are back with us. They too, are on the pond but scuttle away if they here us near by. The green frogs are croaking in various places around the pond. We are just waiting for the first of the barn swallows to be dipping across the pond.

Lots of new growth is happening in all areas on the farm. Fresh leaves are growing everywhere. New seedlings are popping up in the herb gardens from some herbs which have self seeded. The onions, shallots and garlic have the greenest of fine shoots. The leafy greens have beautiful new leaves which taste delicious in our Mesclun. 

The greenhouses are "chock-a-block" with trays of goodies ready to be planted out into the tunnels and the outside areas. According to the sowing plan, we are up to date with the seeds which are needing to be sown. Lucy has been in the greenhouses for the past few weeks and has successfully ensured we are bang on target. Graham came back off a break last week, it is now Lucy’s turn for a well earned break (although a cycling holiday may not be classed as down time!). Enjoy next week Lucy!

Anyone who knows me will surely realise that I like things ‘just so’. I enjoy having things neat and in rows. The jet washer and strimmer are my two favourite pieces of equipment. I really revel in a good "sort out". One such sort out was the barn which had a good spring clean a few weekends ago. Bob and I tackled the near organised shelves, tools, packaging, netting, fleece and dust! All the doors were flung open and we settled the dust. On opening the doors we saw what appeared to be a moss mound, about two inches in length. Our barn doors are really high so I used the end of the sweeping brush to try and budge, what I thought, was an annoyance…it moved!!! The annoyance moved. I took a pic (see it on Instagram) and zoomed in to find a tiny bat. Soooo cute. The bat is still living in the door frame, which has the tiniest of gaps from door to door frame. We have been in touch with Pete, our ornithologist, who reckons it is the ‘Common Pipistrelle Bat’. This is the most common British bat and is the one we all see at dusk, flying and catching insects. Bob and I may consider a bat house for near the barn.

Graham has given the grass it’s first cut of the year, that is in between the showers. It does make the farm look nice and tidy, which keeps Ann happy (and as a result…Bob happy). But it also keeps lots of the things we call weeds from growing near our fruit and vegetable growing areas. Bob and I have just yesterday had the conversation about how few weeds we have. This has not happened over night. As you know we follow the "no dig" approach to growing. This does seem to work. I am not saying we don’t get weeds, but we see fewer of them and quickly remove them. The lack of digging certainly reduces the number which pop up. Keeping the area near the growing areas from weeds which flower and go to seed also reduces any chance of weeds growing in the beds.  The fewer the number of weeds the better the chance of healthier plants. We ensure that the competition between plants and weeds for all the goodness from the ground is won by the fruit and vegetables. Over the years we have reduced the chances of the weeds establishing and taking hold of the farm.

The weather is apparently going to get warmer, the chill we had last week may not have damaged the blossom on our trees, for this we have to wait and see what Mother Nature has in store for us later in the year. We all just want warmer weather for our Bank Holidays. Fingers crossed for that, but enjoy whatever the weather. 

Till next time, take care,