Spot the difference
It’s been an amazing spring, tasks which I normally rush around to do, I have been able to undertake at a leisurely pace. The threat of rain is normally so great at this time of the year that you are tearing around trying to get the best conditions you can in the time allocated, before the next downpour alters the conditions of the soil once again. The rainfall in March was a mere 1.15 inches – this is very low, but the soil still has plenty of moisture in it, due in most part to the terrific condition that the soil is in! After 13 years of piling on organic matter, the soil has reserves, but I wouldn’t be a farmer if I didn’t say that a nice drop of rain would be great. So a very dry spring, unusually warm days, the Ash before the Oak, does this mean we are in for a soak? To be continued……
The potatoes have planted well, and are just about to show themselves above the ground, but we could still get a frost so I need to be careful and keep them banked up. I prepared the ground for the potatoes with my new plough, it’s new to me, but it’s actually quite old, but it’s perfect for what I need. It’s a three furrow reversible plough – my last plough was a ‘run round’ plough, which meant that it only had three sets of ploughs – this one has six. One of the best features of the new plough is that at the end of each row I can spin the plough over and head back the way I came, turning the soil in the same direction. With my old plough – as suggests the name – I had to ‘run round’ to the other end of the field and plough in a different direction. It’s taken me a few acres to get my new plough to work to the best of its ability. I have a very soft spot for the plough and many childhood memories flood back when I am out on the fields ploughing. I used to run across the field from our house and find the tractor that was working in the field, and sit in the cab with the driver mesmerised, watching the soil turnover and the seagulls stealing the worms. The noise and smell that the soil makes as the shiny metal pulls through this strange medium transfixes me as much now as it did when I was a child. Now it’s my tractor and my plough – what a feeling!
The plough provides you with a clean start or at least a well setup plough does. My plough was rusty and “rusty boards give trashy surface”- in other words the soil does not invert properly and you end up with quite a lot of rubbish on the surface, which is hard to deal with later on. After what seemed like an eternity, the boards shined up and the plough started to leave a clean top with all the weeds buried below.
The Jackdaws continue to plague me, but the spring planted broad beans have been protected by the most recent arrival on the farm, the scarecrow. It’s not my best, but is proving effective, allowing the broad beans to pop their first leaves up without an industrial beak wrenching them out into the open – but its looks will not fool them for long. The picture should allow you to play spot the difference and if you’re feeling creative you can caption the photo on our facebook page.
At the start of next month we will begin sympathetically restoring our old threshing barn, thanks to the grant from Natural England. I have been dreaming about this project for some time, and if anyone is interested in seeing the works please contact me. Once completed, I will have a farm walk and we can take a closer look at the work that has been carried out.
Our new organic summer season soup range will be launching the first week of May. We have got an exciting line up for you this year, with lots of new recipes. We have created a Smoked Haddock Chowder, working with Tregida Smokehouse – a multi award-winning, family run, traditional Cornish smokehouse. The haddock, which is line caught off the Cornish coastline by small day boats, is landed in Looe, and then collected fresh from the town’s Fish Market. Tregida, which over the years has gone out of its way to preserve traditional smoking methods, uses sea salt and oak to give the fish a deep smoked, authentic flavour. We then poach it together with onions, potatoes and parsley from the farm. We also have new Spanish Courgette & Tomato soup and Cucumber & Dill soup, which have had some great feedback. Our old favourites, the award winning Pea & Mint and Gazpacho will also be back!
I started this business with a close friend on a stall in front of our village shop, selling vegetables to a local audience. I have missed the interaction of meeting my customers, and have decided to start selling vegetables from a trailer on the back of the tractor in front of the village shop, with my daughter Ella from June. If you live locally, it would be good to see you, 10am – 2pm every Saturday in front of Kennford Shop – we’ll have the freshest, tastiest seasonal vegetables available.
Food from the soil nothing more nothing less.
All the best