It is GAME ON at the Verrow. The warm and bright weather has brought Spring on very quickly. For us, it is a little bit like that feeling when you have slept through your alarm. It has been an unusually dry winter for most parts of England. If you are a builder by trade then you will have had very little to stop you from working. Here in Herefordshire Farmers are busy planting potatoes and whilst the warmth and dryness means a good early start for most, there will be a certain fear in everyone’s minds as to what lies ahead. Logic and probability would suggest that rain must come at some time and pessimists might predict too much water will fall from the skies in the coming months. For us at Fern Verrow, we thank our lucky stars that we have a spring which provides all our water on the farm and so we have been able to irrigate the herb beds and the flower beds, it’s most unusual to be needing to water things outside at this time of the year. If rain does not fall, then all plants struggle to grow. This means the same for grass. Warmth and moisture means levity. So, fingers crossed that there will be some rain so that the sheep outside, who are all busy having lambs at this time of year, can have plenty of lush green grass to eat and thus to thrive.
We have put our Cows outside this week and all the pigs are in the fields, contained by electric fences to eat their way through the remainder of last years crops, which does them a lot of good and also helps us to begin to prepare the soil for planting new vegetables into. The pigs will eat off the growth above ground and begin to open the soil up. Then we will move the pigs off the soil and spred a thin layer of cow manure onto the ground. This cow manure has been outside composting for a year and will help to condition the soil and aid in fertility. This will then be worked into the soil and when the consistency of the ground is fine, rather like the soil that pops up in a molehill, then it is ready to make into beds and the planting and sowing of vegetables can begin. Preparing the soil is not unlike making a pastry the old fashioned way without a magimix, but with two knives to cut up the butter. The finer the consistency of the soil, the easier its is to work subsequently. So when the soil is dug into or opened, the process begins. If the weather above ground is dry and hot, then moisture in the open soil evaporates. If it goes too far this way, then it will dry into clods. Rain will bring moisture, as will the morning dew. So it is a case of catching it just at the right moment, in order to achieve the fine consistency you are looking for.
This Saturday, please take note that we, along with the other “Maltbies” will be in our new location that is Spa Terminus, on Dockley Road. Please check the map on our home page or the Maltby street website. The entrance to the Yard where we are will be an alley way off Spa Road. Lots of free parking is around the area. We will be a little makeshift, but will get things organised in the following weeks. Look forward to seeing you there!