Hello there!

One of the farm’s cockerels: looking pretty buff mate.

I had a quick visit to the farm this February whilst we’re still planning all the work days for this season. Can’t wait to see you on the farm again this year! We’re having our first farm day on the 16th March – sign up if you’re interested in coming on our sign up sheet.

So its winter, right, so nothing’s growing on the farm at the moment? NOPE.

I caught up with crops CropShare volunteers planted last year that we can reap the benefits of this season.

Farmer Paul looks over the fields wistfully

Here’s the broad bean plants CropSharers sowed last autumn that have grown through the winter months. These will start cropping beans around June time if the sun gets its hat on this year. (Anyone else crossing all fingers and toes this year for more of a summer!)
CropShare volunteers will be helping to sow more broad beans throughout March and April, to get successional crops that are ready to eat through summer. Farmer Paul’s land was still too wet to travel with the tractor for more bean planting on my visit, but should be dried out by the farm day on 16th March.

Broad bean plant

This means you’ll get a go on the ride-on planting machine at the back of the tractor- see it in action in the video below. Its a versatile piece of kit that Farmer Paul uses to plant small plants aswell. I like to think of it as a theme-park ride with a more agricultural slant.
I also checked up on the garlic bulbs CropSharers planted last autumn, which have now grown shoots above ground and will have grown out many strong roots below ground.

Line of garlic plants

Garlic planted last autumn

These will be ready to harvest in late summer. Really want to try making one of those fancy garlic plaits, like we did with our onions back in 2011!
Other winter jobs to be done at the moment are fence mending…
Mendin’ that old fence
Fencing standing proud and mended
…And we checked the farm’s bird boxes before they are occupied in the Spring. The farm has loads of birdlife, check out the farm’s bird survey.
Bird box! Now if I were a bird I’d live there.

Also excitingly we put up an owl box. The farm gets a lot of little owls flying through, and it would be great if a few took up residence. Hope they like the accomodation provided!

Farmer Paul fits the owl box: steady on up that ladder

Farmer Paul has been laying some of the hedge at the top end of the farm, which will grow back bushy and stock-proof to hold back the sheep over the next few years.
Farmer Paul with his layed hedge

All the wood for the stakes and the twist across the top were sourced from willow and hazel on the farm. Nice one Paul!

Looks drastic but this hedge will be looking great this summer!

And unfortunately, the swarm of bees caught by CropSharer Dave that were moved onto the farm last year didn’t make it through the winter. Poor things! So we are looking for a replacement swarm- if you see some bees let us know!
That’s all for now, hope to see you on the farm on March 16th!