Thursday, 30 October 2008

Going to collect the chill cabinet

We have bought a part share in a chill cabinet with a friend of ours who farms organically near Newcastle on Clun. It sits on a trailer which will transport it and will support it under a canopy. This means we had better get started on our meat selling enterprise.
We already sell every Friday at Myriad Organics in Ludlow as part of the Clun Valley Organic Farmers and this chiller will help with selling the meat to a wider customer base.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Markets in the current economic climate

In the past month we have noticed a downturn in our weekly market in Shrewsbury, while at Moseley market the sales are holding up, the pattern of buying seems to be changing. Is this the start of an ongoing problem or a reaction to all the hysterical "doom laden" reports in the media?
In order to maintain our business whatever the economic environment we have decided to expand the meat retailing part of our business.

The plan so far is too increase production of Mutton and start producing pork both for direct sales. To that end we have a part share in a second hand chiller unit and trailer, bought on ebay this week. I will post some pictures when we pick it up.The pigs I think be weaners bought in and fattened for a few months, mutton will continue much as before but we may well change to Hebridean sheep as these are known to make good Mutton
Moseley Farmers Market is doing OK but other retail outlets are suffering slightly

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Notes for Gardening Master Class

Click on the title "notes for gardening master class" for a copy of my detail outline for the Organic Gardening master Class held here at Hopesay Glebe Farm on the 12 and 2 Nov 2008

Friday, 10 October 2008

Gyp working hard

Gyp seen here conserving her energy for the big push.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Last checks before winter

I had hoped that today would have been the final check and feed before the bees were ready for winter, however on visiting a site with 10 hives there were three that had lost their roofs due to recent strong winds. The bees in each hive seemed OK but the stores in the top of the frames were depleted presumably due to robbing. As you will see below I replaced the roofs and placed enough weight on top, to keep them down until we move them.
I gave each colony a frame of food and will have to check again in a week to give more stores if needed.

One thing I did notice inside one of the hives was this queen bumble bee, she presumably got in the hive when the roof was off and the bees killed her before she could escape. She was wedged between two frames and the bees had pulled all the hairs from her back although there was no other sign of damage to limbs or wings. Why she couldn't just fly away I don't know as with no roof, the top of the hive was open.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Onions and Salads

The onion crop has been reasonable this year despite the cold wet summer, last year we lost most of our crop due to flooding on the growing area. this year we have moved our veg growing area so to avoid floods in future.

These onions are in the tunnel drying off , we leave the tops on until they dry off then we trim tops and roots.We are loading these for the Moseley Farmers Market they are all trimmed and will be sold loose, direct to our customers.

The last salad crop to be planted in the frames is being harvested, all salad crops planted before next spring will now be grown in the tunnels.
We sow direct into the frame, as a result there is no transplant shock and the young plants grow vigorously right from germination through to flowering, when the frame is cleared.

This last frame crop is looking good and will be picked for a few more weeks yet.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Second Masterclass

Our second Poultry and Beekeeping class was held last Sunday, another great group, lots of questions that really make you think about what we're doing .Seen here the group disrobing after looking through some of our bees.

Late queen mated

Last week I found one colony with queen cells and a number of colonies with drones, whereas I would normally have united the colony with cells the warm weather encouraged me to leave them for a week and see what happened.
Today i checked again and we have a laying queen, good looking girl but no way of knowing yet, if she has mated properly but she is looking good so far.
If she produces viable brood that would be the latest I have seen a queen mated in 23 years