Ann's Farm Journal

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

Soil Association Annual Review

Soil Association Annual Review

Hello Everyone,

Bob and I are really happy to inform you that we successfully completed the annual Soil Association assessment. We had not put a foot out of place, absolutely everything was according to the standards, and resulted in a 100% pass rate.

We both wanted to have no non-compliance issues, no matter how minor. We feel we work quite hard at ensuring that is the fact. Spreadsheets are part of the effort to support the records we complete for the Soil Association. Bob is brilliant at ensuring these records are up to date. They are used by both the Soil Association and our accountant. But we also use the records to help us in deciding, for instance, which crops we should grow the following year.

Paperwork contributes to a huge part of the standards (and our time), however, we could not attain and retain this 100% position if not for our wonderful Crew, helping to maintain the standards. Lucy and Graham were thanked profusely. Here on the farm it is a team effort (effort being the word!). We start with coffee and a chat at eight am each morning and continue the effort throughout the days. We all want the farm to be successful. It starts with the plan; either the plan for the year, month, week or day; then  continues with the actions required to complete that plan. We now feel that we know what the plan is and we are able to complete the actions.

We feel that we are really organised for the seasons ahead - thank you Lucy and Graham…this week alone more Jerusalem Artichokes have been planted, seeds of aubergine, celeriac and tomatoes have been sown and settled in heated greenhouse number one, beds have been prepped for the coming seasons seedlings; the rhubarb crowns have been removed and split and replaced back in the rhubarb bed with fresh compost (BTW another bed will be created for the extra crowns from the split rhubarb); soft fruit canes  have been pruned, new canes have been planted into the areas which did not produce fruit last year and a new layer of compost has been placed around each fruiting cane; tools have been cleaned and made ready for the year; fresh compost bought and delivered for topping up and creating new areas; animals cared for; we harvested for the restaurants and box scheme then packed and delivered to you our lovely customers. A good week. The weather has been kind and the Crew all enthusiastic making for a very productive five days. We have never been as organised as we are right now. We are ready and hitting the ground running!

Many of the seeds we have ordered during the last few weeks have started to arrive. This is always exciting…new little brown envelopes full of assorted shapes and sizes of tiny seed…we are very easily pleased. They have been divided into piles of varieties of vegetables and herbs, placed into the right seed box and made ready to be selected for sowing.

We have a prepared sheet for sowing (obvs!) and the seeds will be taken from the seed box to the greenhouse and sown when the correct date pops up on the sheet. The date and number of seeds sown will be recorded on the prepared sheet. This record can then be compared with previous years and following years, to be used as a reference point. Gardeners have been doing this for years and years. Each gardener will consult their own records from saved books or spreadsheets and the excitement will be the same for all gardeners. The records will be slightly different from gardener to gardener as we all live in different parts of the world, all have differing weather and environments and use different methods of growing. The result should be the same…great tasty vegetables…well that’s the plan.

This weekend has been one of the few without a plan…shock horror! No plan! So, we have been on a date, soooo romantic with more excitement and it’s not even February 14th! I feel very spoilt, we both scrubbed up clean in posh clothes and off we went for lunch. So nice. I made Bob knock at the door to collect me for our date. We had a lovely time and had some tasty food at…Wynyard Hall where we had a snoop round the gardens and greenhouses. Coals to Newcastle! Such fun! We just cannot escape our thoughts, but we did try and put a twist on ‘work’.

Till next week,

Thank you for your support, kind words and returned boxes.