Wednesday, 31 March 2010

A Radnor Flock

I was checking hives in one of my Herefordshire sites, they have a pedigree flock of Hill Radnors so I thought a photo would be of interest.

Leek seedbed prblems

Seedling raising in cold frames is fraught with hazards, we have come up against the short tailed vole yet again. there we were thinking we have the leeks nailed for a another season. Sowed 5,000 seed and covered three days ago and hey presto vole city.
The next thing we do is buy in 5,000 seed for sowing in modules where the lights will hopefully bring the seedlings on to catch up with the ones destroyed by our friends the voles.

Monday, 22 March 2010


It's a root day on our planting calender, so today we have sown golden and Forono Beetroot, and Fennel also Leeks not a root plant but we're not working to a council of perfection. The germination room is still in use but as the weather improves we will be sowing more in the tunnels rather than under the expensive heat and light of the germination room.
For seeds that still need that extra control over temperature we have a small cabinet which gives some light and bottom heat, it's kept in the germination room so we can control temperature. Useful for lettuce that need a cool germination temperature even in full summer.

Friday, 19 March 2010


Last winter we planted our first Garlic in one of our raised beds. They protected by a mesh giving virtually no frost protection but does serve to keep the chickens and pheasants etc off.
Took this image yesterday to check progress. There has been reasonable growth despite the longest cold spell for many years and very little foliage damage despite being covered with snow for weeks on end.
Tough stuff that garlic

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Ongoing seed sowing

We are continuing with seed sowing we plant using the Biodynamic diary by Maria Thun. This helps organise our sowing schedule and does in my opinion have a small affect on germination and growth rates.
So a leaf day yesterday we sowed Spinach, Coloured Chard, White Chard, lettuce heading and loose leaf. Also Brassicas, Purple Sprouting and Brussel Sprouts.

All the onions are sown and have emerged Leeks are sown in trays, tunnel and frame but only the ones in trays are up. Carrots are sown in the tunnel and given a delivery and dry weather I am hoping to broadcast the green manure that follows our Brassica crops.

The season is the latest we have seen here, so I'm guessing that when spring does arrive everything will happen at once.

Weather patterns over the past 10 plus years leave us either wondering if the rain will ever stop or panicking that we will be in a drought for the season. In addition to the late spring this is the driest march I can remember.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


A couple of pictures of our trainee sheep dog, seen here holding our Hereford flock in the corner ready to be loaded. We collected and loaded the sheep, we wouldn't have won One Man and His Dog but we got the job done

Millie proving she can concentrate when needed, showing "eye" on the ewe and lamb.

Moving sheep

The sheep we have in Hereford were constantly getting out of the field so we've moved them to a new spot with hopefully better fencing and a bit more grass. Although we find that there is no grass anywhere in this area. Its much the latest spring I've seen here in 15 years. seems the climate is becoming more unpredictable.
The sheep at their new site.

New lamb doing well

A couple of pictures of our lamb, born early and unexpectedly this Feb.
She is doing well getting quite chunky and is grazing (or would be if the grass would grow).

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

New Beekeeping Season

As winter turns to spring every year I experience the same unrealistic optimism rising in my soul.
Hives like the one below are bursting with bees, but alas not all or even many hives look like this but enough look good to maintain my positive thoughts towards bees last a little longer.

When doing the first proper check of the year I am looking for enough stores to last till next inspection and that they have a viable Queen.
I took this picture from one of the better colonies, the queen is well developed although not perhaps in full laying condition yet. Most hives seems to be queen right but some will fail before the season gets under way. Often a bigger problem when we have had a poor summer. Like last year. Time will tell.

Seed sowing progress

We are well on with the seed sowing now, onions are 3/4 sown and about half are germinated.
We get the seedlings to emergence then move them out of the germination room and into the tunnel. This ensures that we get quick germination and the best through put in the germination room.

In the tunnel the seed trays are laid on potato trays and covered with fleece to protect from frost and mice.
Sown so far are:
Early Leeks, 1,000
Onion Red Baron 1,000
Onion Sturon 3,ooo
Onion Hystar 2,000
Lettuce 4vars 300
Cabbage Pyramid 1,000

Seed sowing progress