Sunday, 30 November 2008

Organic Inspection

Friday just gone we had our annual inspection. This involves checking our records and stock to ensure that we have been doing all things organic. Such as using organic seed, organic fertility building, proper rotations and only selling organic produce.

The whole process takes the best part of a day including the inspection of the land and buildings.
In the end we had no problems and were not issued with any non compliance forms but it is still a nervous time and good to get out of the way for another year.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Old man Roddy goes to the ewes

We have four old ewes and an aging Ram Roddy, before we send the ewes off and retire Roddy we decided to give him one more chance. Hi genetics are good but at his age 7yrs I 'm not sure if he has any lead in his pencil.
It would be useful if we could breed some replacements from these old ewes and Roddy so they can be used with the new ram we are hoping to buy in two weeks time.
So what do you think, satisfied and resting or tired and disinterested? Well time will tell at any rate we will be replacing our ram and reinvigorating our small flock in the near future.

Leek transplant trial

Back in the summer I started a trial on module verses bare root transplants for leeks see
We are now harvesting the resultant crop, the module plants were planted in early june while the bare root transplants were planted mid june. The two trial batches were the same variety and were in adjacent beds.
The untrimmed plants show a difference in the quality of plants, the bare root transplants are on your right as you look at them.
But the trimmed plants show the real difference, again the bare root transplants are on the right. The bare root plants are bigger with significantly longer shanks. Considering these were planted later than the module transplants, the advantage to us of using bare root plants seems obvious.

This doesn't mean that we are abandoning module leeks entirely, I intend to sow some early under lights by early February so they can be planted with the onions so achieving an early crop.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Presentation Notes at Soil Associations Conference at the Passenger Shed in Bristol

The room prior to the workshop Agri-culture where four of us explored topics such as Art in farming, master class training days, school visits and mobile bakery for demonstrating bread making in schools
For my short presentation the notes are available if you click on the title above. The Plenary sessions are available on the soil association website now.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

New chiller unit at market

The chiller unit we bought the other week has seen its first service, we unvieled it in alls its glory at Ludlow Farmers Market, it comes on its own trailer which is boxed in when you set it up on site.

We are using it with Clun Forest Organics Farmers, which is a group of four local farmers selling our meet cooperatively across a number of outlets.
The chiller was set up next to a stall also selling our vegetables and Trevor Wheelers (pictured below) potatoes, carrots and swedes.
It was a reasonably successful day especially considering the weather and that this was our first attempt. Our intention is to continue to attend on the second Thursday in Ludlow, then try Shrewsbury Farmers Market on the first Friday and to attend Bishops Castle Farmers Market on the third Saturday of the month.

All our meat is killed at the local abbatoir Griffiths in Leintwadine and is butchered by Welsh Farm Organics or Golden Valley Organics.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Leek Crop

Leeks are one of the most important crops for us, they usually get a good price, are in steady demand throughout the winter and will stand through hard winter frosts. The crop this year is just about ideal. the individual plants are not too big but have nice long shanks giving a good balance of size and flavour.We have almost cleared the early season crop seen below the two central beds. These will not take frost as well as the blue green cultivars which should stand through the hardest (almost) winter.
The only year that I have sen significant winter loss of leeks was a few years ago when there was an extraordinarily mild autumn and early winter. which was followed by a hard frost of minus 8C. It appears that the plants were growing soft and a heavy frost damaged them before they could harden up.

All our leeks are grwon through a biodegradable sheet which looks like polythene but decomposes over the year. Between the beds we sow white clover which grows into the leek beds throughout the year giving some green manure to incorporate next year.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Shrewsbury Market

The weekend comes around that means its Shrewsbury Market Every Friday and Saturday we stand at the indoor market, and have for about 10 years.
In season this week are the jerusalem Artichokes and for the first time this year swede and parsnip. The winter seasonal vegetables are in demand this year as it looks like we are getting a seasonal autumn for a change.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Artichokes are in season

We reduced the tops of the Jerusalem Artichokes to make harvesting simpler and to prevent wind blow. When the plants blow over the tubers can be brought to the surface which will attract rabbits and pheasants which will happily eat all they can find.Gyp likes to inspect the work and make sure we don't miss any tubers

Our first proper crop of Artichokes this season,the crop is looking good..I guess the heavy rain in the summer wasn't all bad.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Final Master Class today

We held our final class of the year today. The courses have I think been a success and we are now thinking about developing the idea for next year. To see the notes for todays course follow this link: or click on the title above.