Saturday 30th April | Fern Verrow

Saturday 30th April

Apologies for the lack of content in our posts over the last couple of weeks, the warm, dry June like climate has meant a very busy time here. Seeds germinating left right and centre, earlier than ever before. Today is much cooler and the pace feels a little calmer. Fern Verrow is looking beautiful, very green, with new leaf growth on the trees and pasture. The many varieties of  fruit bushes and trees are bursting with various shades of eye and nose pleasing pink blossoms. We have nearly finished lambing with just three more ewes to go, they have found the recent weather a little hot, lots of puffing and panting, and afternoon snoozes under the shade of the hedges, for the sheep of course! The young lambs are growing well and spend much of their time chasing each other around. Tomorrow after tagging, dagging and foot inspection, they are all off to fresh pasture.

A job this afternoon will be to spray the potatoes, which have just popped their new leaves through the planted soil. Potatoes and fruit are very susceptible to mould and fungus, in the case of potatoes and tomatoes this is called blight. Horsetail (Equisetum) holds a special position among the plants used in the Biodynamic preparations. It is not one of the compost preparations but is used to treat plants directly. The summer shoots look like small trees; (horsetails were trees in the carboniferous period of earth history) they have a high silica content which expresses itself clearly in the hexagonal “shields” of the plant. Medicinally, it is used to reinforce structure in the human body. Silica relates to light. Fungus likes the dark and damp. We harvest the horsetail plants around midsummer and dry them for use the following year. A large pot of water is brought to the boil with some of the dried horsetail plants  in it, then left to infuse and cool overnight for use the following day. Using a backpack sprayer, the tea is then applied as a foliar spray to the plants and soil. This helps to bring light into the plant. We will do this once a week on the tomatoes and potatoes as we have found it to be a most effective prevention to mould and blight. It is also an invaluable aid to preventing mould on fruiting plants when conditions are damp. We have been applying equisetum for many years now, and even in the wettest most blighty seasons we have had much success, despite having heard on Gardeners Question Time that it doesn’t really work, and that chemical sprays work much better…Hum.                                                                                                                                                              

For sale at the Arch this weekend, we have a fantastic selection of new season herbs, fresh new spring growth,amongst the selection we have mint, chives with their oniony purple flowers, tarragon, sage and thyme. More chard both red and green from the greenhouse. Salad leaves are plentiful, as well as bags of rocket. This week again we have vegetable plants for your gardens, all raised here. Dwarf french and climbing beans, lettuces and herbs. Also a range of six tomato varieties.

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