Ann's Farm Journal

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

Putting in Drainage

Putting in Drainage

Hello everyone,

First of all we hope you all have a wonderful Mothers Day. A very special day in the year where we get to celebrate the special part Mothers play in all our lives. 

The above photo you may think is a bit random. Well the great Graham has been extremely busy with the drainage for the new planting bed in the Orchard Field. The area looks massive and consequently, a massive job is underway which involves digging ditches, dropping in gravel, laying a drainage pipe in each ditch, dropping more gravel, filling in the ditch and levelling off, then adding 6 inches of compost over the whole growing area. The length of each ditch is  230 feet with a total planting area of 13,000 square feet. We will use 50 tons of pebbles and somewhere between 90 and a 100 tons of compost. One digger. One dumper truck. One Graham.

The weather has been extremely kind resulting in a huge amount of the digging being completed, without the issue of the ditches looking like a muddy mess. One of the ditches is now complete. Only two more to attend to…Graham has been a truly amazing Crew Member this week. He has worked clearly and methodically…just two of his many talents. . As ever, the time estimated has had a bit of a stretch. We have rethought the timing and added on an extra week till the completion date. Thankfully, we were able to start this job by giving ourselves some leeway. We do not start planting out into the bed until May. This will be filled with overwintering crops for the 2022/23 winter season.

Our courgette and squash will also be planted here. They tend to be fast growers so should not (fingers crossed) cause problems from the point of view of space required for the winter crops.

Amazingly, one ditch in particular has started to fill with water. We have had very little rainfall? Where does the water come from? We do have a well in one of our fields, has it come from there or is our water table a full one. The pond in the Orchard Field is never empty, we obviously have lots of excess water. Good job we are putting in the drainage system. This will ensure the crops do not become damaged due to water interference. Too much water can result in the root systems dying…they literally drown!

Cutting into the ground also shows us the distinct layers of the earth. We have a good foot of top soil. Then we hit clay. Mustard coloured clay. Maybe we should take up the potters wheel?!

Once all is finished here, a fence will be erected to secure the crops in and the pesky rabbits out!

Everything growing is coming on a treat. Next week I will give a full update. Till then…back to the ditches.

Finally there have been a number of stories in various media outlets about the end of Free Range eggs in the supermarkets. This is because of the restrictions imposed by the recent outbreak of Avian Flu and the countries large egg producers have had to keep their chickens inside to avoid them mixing with wild birds and therefore contracting Avian Flu. However, our eggs are still classed as Free Range. That is because we constructed a 500 square metre outdoor netted chicken run. Our chicken run has two major attributes, firstly it is fully netted and therefore keeps our chickens separate from wild birds and secondly it is large enough from a free range regulation aspect. To be classed as free range each bird in your flock must have an average of four square metres, in our run each bird has an average of ten square metres! We invested in this huge pen as we have had Avian Flu restrictions in three out of the last four years and we wanted to have a system in place that protected our Free Range classification at all times. 

Thank you for your continued support.

Take care,