Spring has arrived a lot earlier than last year, bringing with it a whole raft of jobs and the excitement of being able to prepare ground for our new crops. It’s the start of the growing season! And it feels like we’re at the top of a big slide, about to whoosh headlong into a fast-moving hectic whirl of work.
After such a mild winter (less than five frosts by our count) we are a bit worried about pest populations, especially slugs. But as long as the sun shines we’ll be happy – so far this spring, the warmth and rainfall have provided ideal growing conditions. The two crops we’ve got growing at the moment, asparagus and garlic, are both looking well.
Even more excitingly, in the last few weeks we have had 60 solar panels installed on our building, on behalf of our landlords Unicorn Grocery. They are already generating upto 8kW, though later in the year with a stronger and higher sun they should be nearing their maximum output of 20kW.
This is a massive step towards our original vision of creating a truly sustainable model farm. At the heart of everything is the sun and the soil. The soil, lovely grade 2 loams, which we have converted to and managed organically. No chemical pesticides, no synthetic fertilisers, just clover-based fertility building and added compost made from green bin collections. And the sun, which grows the clover and gives us our fertility, and which grows our crops. Now with the addition of the photovoltaic panels the sun gives us onsite electricity, powering our irrigation system when the crops are needing water.
We think this makes our farm the most low-impact and sustainable around. Having written our original vision nearly 5 years ago, and thinking of all the hard work we have put in, it makes us enormously proud to see that vision made real.