Ann's Farm Journal

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

The Watering Way

The Watering Way

Hello Everyone, 

Well, it’s been a bit wet wet wet! Great for the crops and fabulous skies at night but, what to wear?! 

Bob and I enjoyed and survived having the grandboys for an extended time while the Glastokids enjoyed Macka and Diana the Diva. We were enthusiastic to get back to work proper on the farm. This weekend we have created a huge list and we are hoping many ticks will be across the list by this Sunday night.

The torrential rain has been brilliant for the outside growing areas. A good soaking is just what the farmer ordered. This saved a lot of time as this outside watering job was taken care of by Mother Nature. 

The polytunnel watering is a completely different challenge. We have ground irrigation and an overhead watering system in place. This gives us lots of control as to how the watering is completed. The type of crop determines the type of watering. For instance, tomatoes flower and grow tall. They need a little but often water without harming the flowers which become the fruit. Celery and chard grow close to the ground and need a lot of water constantly. For tomatoes we use the ground irrigation and the overhead watering can be provided for the celery and chard. We have much more control. 

However, when we have rain, the rain water creates a major flooding issue in a number of our tunnels. The rain falls from the sky, over the polytunnels and drains from the tunnels into the areas of the tunnels resulting in a soggy mess at times and us a headache! I am sure there is a science behind how the water collects but we just wanted to solve this issue as we had reduced crop production in these very waterlogged places. 

The answer has been guttering! The main places the water was collecting has been when two polytunnel sides faced each other. Obviously, the water was doubled in capacity having the runoff from two tunnels. Our land has a slight incline resulting in the water flowing. Guttering placed running along the outside of the tunnels collects the water. This week’s torrential rain has been a good test and it has worked. (Phew! Coz nothing is free and guttering is expensive). I say ‘nothing is free’, however, the rain water is free and we are now working on a plan to collect and use the rain water for when the crops need watering and not drowning. A good job from our ‘Graham the Great' who can turn his hand and head to anything. 

Speaking of tomatoes they are looking amazing, probably much better than last years'. The lovely Lucy has really helped by tending them regularly. The crops are all doing really well inside. The outside ones have been getting a bit of a battering from the strong winds we have been having. Mother Nature may help and rectify the weather woes. The month of June sees the transition in planting from the winter type of foods to the summer foods. July will now see the planting we completed crack on and produce tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, aubergine, beans, leaves, fennel, summer brassicas, peas and the summer fruit. And July is also when we start sowing for this year's Winter crops - it never stops.

Thank you for all the lovely comments about our produce, particularly the strawberries. We are waiting for the gooseberries to sweeten…come on sun! 

Another transition…As a farm business, we have nearly completed the full transition from pasture fields to growing fields. By the end of this year Hexhamshire Organics should be as we want it to be. We have learnt our craft by making lots of mistakes. We feel that we now know how to do our job. (Ha, we hope!) This is with the help of a good crew and local farmers and tradespeople. Bob and I cannot wait for all our ‘projects’ to be completed. Then we can just be growers of Fresh Local Organic Produce. 

Thank you for returning all our boxes. This is a huge help to us and helping in the reuse area of sustainability. We try to reuse and recycle using only reusable and recyclable containers for all our fruit and vegetables. The van is electric, our T-shirts are made from organic cotton and #nothinggoestowaste onsite. We know we do use plastic products on the farm. For instance the seeding trays, the tunnel covers, guttering and water pipes are all made from a plastic. However, we are using them either forever or over and over again. We think we are doing our best but we will try harder and change where the need arises. 

Well, back to the list for more ticks….. 

Have a great week,