Saturday 12th February | Fern Verrow

Saturday 12th February

After the high winds of last week ,we have been busy tidying up things that have been blown around. A few trees, many greenhouse panes smashed to pieces, the waterproof felt on the top of some of the chicken houses.  So the calmer,stiller weather of this week has been a relief. Wednesday was another opportunity to gather some more Oak leaves from the driveway of an estate in the next parish. We have mentioned these leaves before and of the wonderful leaf-mould that they develop into over a two year period.

This Oak lined driveway stretches about 400 metres up to a beautiful house. The mossy banks on either side are very natural,with wild narcissae growing. The next picture should give you an idea of the size of these amazing old trees.

Apparently, back in the day, one man was employed full time for tending to the driveway and removing all the leaves throughout Autumn and Winter, apparently having to make himself unseen as the Master of the Estate would pass.  We often, whilst digging all these leaves out of the ditches, spare  a thought for whoever had the unenviable task.

But, with the help of a tractor with a very large bucket on the front ( a bit like a giant’s dustpan) all we need to do is rake all the leaves up, then scoop them up and place them in a large trailor. Jumping up and down and stamping on them helps to compact them into the trailor which affords room for more leaves and also helps them to hold their form and not blow away in high winds. Here is a trailor-load dropped off in a field at Fern Breed.

Falling leaves, if left to their own devices will gradually break down and work their way into the topsoil, adding humus and acting as a great soil conditioner.

A green leaf ,whilst on a tree, acts rather like an antenna allowing it to interact with the light and warmth and air around it and enabling the tree on which it grows to draw things into itself from what is above ground. When these leaves change colour and fall to the ground and in time work their way into the earth, then some of the activity with which they busied themselves whilst active upon the tree is remembered and given to the soil, making it more receptive to the forces of life that work into and through it.

So in true Blue Peter fashion, here’s one we made earlier. Here is a handful of delicious smelling leaf-mould which after two years has broken down and is currently sitting all around the base of the Roses, all over the herb beds and will be added to our own potting compost mix when we start to sow seeds in a few weeks time. It is treasured stuff.

This Saturday in the Arch ( 9 – 2 pm) at 55 Stanworth st. SE1 3NY, we will have more citrus, blood oranges, bergamot lemons. We will have a few of our own salad bags, leeks, brussel tops and kale tops.. Potatoes are plentiful and keeping well. Bacon and Gammons will be on sale, with a few staples including minced beef and lamb from Model Farm. Next week we will be selling Lamb from our very own lambs.


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