Ready to Skep Swarms

organic beekeeperI do not practise any swarm prevention or split colonies artificially but let the bees swarm naturally. The beekeepers nightmare ! But it is a most wonderful experiences to stand in a cloud of bees and handling them once skepped, I believe there must be some benefit in letting the bees behave like they want, they are having a though time and can do with a bit of t l c. Know of anyone wanting bees ? I charge £20.00 for a swarm so this is an affordable way to get bees. 

To Your Good Health

I am not a great believer in organic magic in a bottle. I am a great believer in the basics of organic, good soil cultivation, good manure and compost, a good rotation and that should do it. But I do use seaweed, it goes on the plants through the overhead irrigation. I does not make a poor job good, but it seems to make a good job better. Plants do look darker leaved and shelf life is improved. Signs of better health which should be passed on to you. Maybe in the form of a fuller palate of minerals and stuff or the ever so hard to quantify forces of life but I do hope with all my heart that it does do good to you too. Here is to your good health.

Hot Dog and Mustard

With one of our hen houses unoccupied, I have been able to treat the soil around it properly for once. And what joy. This yellow flower is a type of mustard that naturally fumigate a soil and leaves it whole and healthy for the next lot of hens. Bees love it, I love it. It is like a soil singing for joy.

And it has done well, maybe because of the heat, certainly enough manure and just sown in time before everything dried up. It is good for the soul to be good to a soil.

Hope Springs Eternal

This year all my overwintered lettuce and spinach succumbed to the, compared to the last few years, late frosts and wet weather. And here a greenhouse full of young lettuce and spinach plants.

Propagating new crops is a delight. There is the little miracle of seeds germinating and the hope of a spectacular crop. It does not always make it till the end or to your plate but here is hoping............

This year we will have to cut back on some of our polytunnel crops and we will mainly do spinach, lettuce and outside kale and a few little trials to keep me amused. 

Have I invented tub-composting?

Tub Composting

This is where we compost packhouse and kitchen waste and horse droppings from our stables. In the tubs, fungi, bacteria, plenty compost worms and millions and millions of FRUITFLIES !!!, do their little alchemy and leave us with nice quality worm worked compost. And no it does not need Desperate Dan to lift the tubs, when overflowing we transfer the top half to the next (empty) bin and take the rest by wheelbarrow to our tunnels. These tubs provide compost for a third of our tunnels. Waste not want not.

Buckwheat for the Bees

BuckwheatThis is buckwheat. We grow throughout the season flowers on which our bees can forage, like buckwheat. And phacelia. Both plants also very good for building up soil fertility. I believe that our area can no longer sustain honeybees naturally. The summers are too cold and there is lack of fowers for the bees. But we keep bees, we breed them. And we help them a bit, we let them express all their natural behaviour and overwinter them on honey, never feed sugar. And so we hope to make a little contribution to their survival. See if we manage, bee it as it may.

A Moving Week

LorieneenThis was a moving week, forgive me the pun. We said farewell to Adrien, our stalwart worker for many years, who moved out. We could no longer offer full time employment to Adrien due to us reducing the size of our business once more. And we said hello to Jennifer who moved in next doors and will work part time for us.

Our customers in Camphill have again taken over some of the work we did for them for many years which is good. But we are also reducing our poultry and veg growing work which is bad. Once upon a time we had a nice group of Demeter certified organic growers here with 40 acres of veg growing between us, of that group we are the only ones left in business now and on a much reduced acreage, hmm. There are good opportunities for our commercial work to expand but this will need successors to come on the scene. And there seems to be no sign of these at all in this part of the world. Do I hear soft violin music in minor key in the background?

Picture : art work by Adrien.

Packing Assistant Wanted

Spread the word spread the word. From this summer onwards we could do with a packing assistant for a couple of days a week and if the right person comes forward he or she can take over our little local box scheme too and develop this into a multi national corporation.(smile) Lembas International, to be sure. (smile)Working hours will be Monday and Tuesdays and our local boxscheme deliveries are wizzed round on the wednesday at the moment. We might have accomodation on the farm available for applicants from further away. Know of anyone ?

Chickens Are Go!

After being cooped up for far to long our chickens enjoy their freedom again. After the very first alert many years ago we build roofed over extensions to our henhouses which saved the day this time round. The hens had at least a bit of room to move. Still a lot of extra work with disinfection measures and so on.

Kale Kale Glorious Kale

End of January and our first crop of lettuces well on its way as never before. Climate change has made an impact here. Cooler wetter summers make outdoor vegetable growing more and more akward, we only grow kale now and a few peas for ourselves. But the polytunnels enjoy now a longer season and we were still cutting spinach in December last year for the first time ever. Bit of a challenge to keep the weeds down in the kale but the kale itself better than ever. Kale kale glorious kale.

Kale Glorious Kale
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