Saturday 22nd January | Fern Verrow

Saturday 22nd January

It felt like spring was coming on Monday, we got too warm in long johns and waterproof trousers. It was very nice to be working outside with warm winter sun on our backs. We moved some of the pigs onto a  patch of  frost damaged beetroot and swedes, this is part preparation for the new season. The pigs will munch away at  the tops and root through the soil  for the vegetables, at the same time with their powerful snouts they lift and aerate the soil.  It is a pleasure to watch them enjoying themselves., and doing what comes naturally to them, ie rooting around and getting muddy. Even though as one would expect at this time of year, the soil is rather wet and cold,  we can see how the freezing temperatures of December have penetrated deep into the soil, and the essential remineralisation that occurs with heavy frosts is evident. The soil looks dessicated and friable. Providing we don’t have too much rain and we move the pigs off the land in time, the prospect of  working good quality soil is looking promising. Our first crops to plant with all being well will be new potatoes and main crop onions. We try and get these in the ground by the spring equinox (end of March) Much preparation needs to be done and plenty of suitable conditions before this can happen. More of that another time… but it is nice to feel that we may be very slightly on our way.

Meanwhile our time is being spent on repairs, maintainence and building. New poultry houses are under construction, and a  new shelter in which to stir and store our biodynamic preparations. We have chosen a lovely spot near the rose bushes, which has a spectacular view over the Golden Valley and the Malvern Hills in the distance.

Our greenhouse has also had some attention this week, weeding and clearing out old plants. The land cress appears to have survived the frosty weather. Tasting hot and clean, so will be bringing some to the Arch to sell this weekend. Rocket, chervil and coriander too. Spinach sown in September is growing again and hopefully will be for sale in a month or so.

This week our star crop are  the new season  blood oranges, moro oranges and marmalade sevilles. If anyone is interested in a bulk purchase of 10kg plus of any of the oranges or lemons please let me know as we can offer a wholesale price…. just drop me an email fernverrow@btopenworld.com. More bergamot lemons and new season biodynamic regular lemons from Italy… both at their very best.

Organic lamb and beef from Model farm for sale this week too. Otherwise we will have some of our greens, which I know are in high demand. I will of course be selecting the best from the wholesaler. Please remember that we are not at Borough Market, but only at the arch (55 Stanworth st SE1) Our hours are 9-2.



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