After months of moping around the fields dodging endless downpours, hailstorms, squalls and puddles, spring has finally arrived. Not a moment too late either.
Since mid December, as you are well aware, we have here in Somerset experienced an unprecedented succession of severe storms, with record levels of rainfall. After 2012 we are used to the wet. However it was the constant and ever-increasing gales that the farm experienced which caused us the most problems. The strong winds, a constant feature of the past few months, built to a terrifying crescendo in the run up to and on Valentine’s Day, blowing us a kiss to remember!
We sustained severe damage to two of our poly tunnels. Part of one our large 30m production tunnels was torn clean out of the ground and the cover shredded completely. Our Yurt took a severe battering and only just survived complete destruction. Fences were flattened and the pig housing was picked up and blown across the fields, much to the indignation of its occupants! We are still very much licking our wounds after the storms with much repair work and tidying still going on.
The lovely sunny weather over the weekend was somewhat akin to a starting pistol for the new growing season. However a certain degree of patience is needed as soils are still very wet and nothing does more damage to soil structure than working it when wet. This is especially challenging when we are already late preparing ground for crops such as early potatoes and broad beans. Last year's crops that are still around such as leeks, purple sprouting broccoli and winter salad are all being harvested in large amounts, showing that it is not just us humans that are relieved to see some sunshine. Rhubarb, asparagus and spring greens are all just around the corner on the harvest list.
We hope to be sharing with you more than ever the highs and lows of the coming growing season, through a regular field diary posting on the website. As always we hope you can join us in the fields at some point over the coming months to share in the production and harvest of another season’s crops. More about that next month...