Ann's Farm Journal

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

Soil Testing - the results are in!

Soil Testing - the results are in!

Hello everyone, 

Over a number of years one of our key aims has been to create rich fertile soil on which we can grow amazing crops. Bob and I feel that following the ‘no dig’ approach and topping up our land with compost annually results in soil which will provide the minerals and nutrients the crops require for good growth.

Today's blog is therefore all about soil - which is very apt as today, Sunday 5th December, is World Soil Day!

We can only assume that we are achieving our aim as the vegetables are pretty good and get better each year (even if I say so myself). But we want to continue providing good quality organic produce over many more years. This means we must ensure that our soil does contain the required elements to ensure good produce. So, we had our soil and the leaves of some of our autumn/winter crops professionally analysed. We submitted 15 soil samples and 7 leaf samples....and the results are in…

…they are very technical but thankfully the scientists do provide a high level view and a very good low level breakdown which we can follow. More importantly, we know a man who can do even more than this. Anyone remember me mentioning Paul? Paul did work for the Soil Association as one of their top soil scientists, he has since begun working as the Executive Farm Manager at Houghall College. Being science based, with a huge knowledge of soil…he’s our man. He has helped identify and solve many issues we have encountered. He is the man to thank for explaining why we never used to be able to grow good cauliflowers, we are now unbelievable cauli-growers. This year we grew one cauliflower which was seven kilograms and, yes, it still did taste good! 

The science seems to be telling us that from quite a poor soil, we have been able to create a good area full of the minerals and elements required for the intense cropping of our organic goodies. We have a slightly more alkaline soil, which is ideal. We have more than sufficient phosphorus, potassium and magnesium required plus a good amount of a huge number of elements and minerals (with some I am unable to spell never mind say). Except in the Orchard Field. This area we regard as our base test bed and reflects how all our land used to be. We have done absolutely nothing, yet, to this area and it is seriously lacking in everything. The original soil was very acidic, it had low bacterial and nutrient levels. This is proof that we are heading in the right direction with our methods and approach that we have applied to the rest of the farm. We can’t wait for Paul’s analysis of our analysis. However, we feel that we are heading in the right direction. We are taking great care to create good soil. The no dig approach has definitely provided us with the little critters required to aerate and feed the soil. We are providing a top compost and mulch to feed the soil and critters. The soil is well nourished so is able to be the perfect medium for growing our Fresh Local Organic Produce. The science has spoken. 

As a reminder…All the information you need for your Fresh Local Organic Festive Goodies is on the website.
1. Go to ‘ buy an organic veg box’ and press.
2. Scroll down to the Christmas Veg Box.
3. Place your order before Midnight Monday December 13th.
4. We will deliver to you 20th - 23rd December (depending on your area)
To answer a few obvious questions…
1. Yes, the delivery days have been brought forward. As we do not know who and where the orders are going to, we cannot be more precise at this moment as to your delivery day. I guarantee you will all receive your delivery a day or so earlier. We will not be delivering on Christmas Eve, so you will have your box by Thursday of that week.
2. Yes, you will be able to add to your order. Our website will be open with any extras you may need. However, we will be concentrating on the pork and bacon and only a limited range of fruit and vegetables, generally festive foods.
3. Yes, we will have a Midnight Monday deadline for the Christmas Boxes - 13th December. You will not be able to add to your order or place any orders after Midnight Monday 20th December. Order early as we are expecting high demand.
4. Yes, we are expecting high demand (we have many customers who have already emailed and booked boxes already!!) so may I suggest that you order as early as possible. We will be taking the shop from the website if and when we reach our full capacity.
5. Yes, our organically certified pork is delish, or so lots of you keep saying. We have not put on the website our chipolata sausages or streaky bacon…they are on now, alongside any gammons, joints, back bacon etc., you may need.
6. Yes, Bob, myself and the Crew want you to have a Delicious December.

One of our lovely regular customers sent a recipe and I thought you might enjoy trying…Vivien says…"I made red cabbage slaw for the first time and couldn’t stop nibbling on it. I found it really highlighted your wonderful fresh winter vegetables." It made enough to fill a 2pint bowl. 

A small red cabbage, stalk removed, leaves finely shredded
Half a white cabbage, stalk removed, leaves finely shredded
1 carrot, finely shredded
A small onion, peeled and finely shredded
1 pepper, finely sliced
120ml of garlic mayonnaise 
Zest and juice of half a lemon
1tbsp of white wine vinegar
1tbsp pesto
Half a teaspoon of sea salt

1) whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon, vinegar, pesto and salt in the bowl
2) add the cabbage, carrot, onion and pepper and mix well. Refrigerate. Can be made the day before needed. ,

Thank you Vivien, I love a slaw to.


All is good on the farm with lots of jobs still being done. More of those next week.

Thank you for your continued support and for returning the boxes.

Take care and Still Stay Safe,