So, 2014 has been and gone, and so too have my resolutions of 2014 – to keep a more regular newsletter and to avoid talking about the weather, both of which have failed miserably. Excuses I need to find to justify my poor and feeble efforts!
Well the weather is just such a good reason for almost everything that can go wrong/not happen/fail to live up to standards that it is hard to avoid its’ nagging presence. It dominates the lives of those that scratch the surface of the planet as a means to a living. No amount of computer programmes, smartphones and forward planning can beat the mind of the weather, it does whatever it fancies. Sometimes it can feel as if one is pissing into the wind and at other times it can be jolly and happy and do just what we want. And that is pretty much how it has been since early spring. Jolly that is, as it has been a great growing season with just about the right amount of elements arriving at near enough the right time to produce some of the best crops we have ever had.
OK so a bit wet during autumn and pretty chilly the past month, we have had only 5 days in December when it has been over zero degrees at night, but then we get to accept that it has to be a bit inclement at times if we are to enjoy decent summers. And indeed it was a very decent summer, as was 2013, so roll on 2015 and hope that we are to get a hat trick of summer sunshine.
We have some interesting plans for 2015, by the end of this month (weather permitting) we should have completed planting up 7 acres of agroforestry in one of our fields. A total of 700 mixed hardwood native trees in strips inter-planted with 70 apple trees. The area between the trees will continue to grow vegetables as we have done for decades hopefully aided by the trees bringing increased bio-diversity and shelter to the site. So in 2-3 years we will be starting to harvest apples from the site to add to our range of vegetables.
As well as trees we are also propagating 70 vines from cuttings, starting off life in our propagation greenhouse and when rooted and growing strongly these will be planted along the south facing wall in the Walled Garden. They are mostly dessert varieties and should begin to crop at the same time as our apple crop.
As well as this, we are also extending our packing shed to include a bigger kitchen and improved toilet facilities for visitors and staff. Work has been held up for several weeks due to guess what? Yes the weather of course, too wet then too frosty but we have plenty of time before spring to have the work completed. The intention is to get more use from our base in the Walled Garden for meetings and events as well as allowing other local people and groups to use the facilities. So if you have an idea for an event/meeting/function do contact us and we will see what can be done to accommodate.
So we are looking forward to spring, longer days and sunshine of course and it is not far away evenings will start to draw out very soon and we will be sowing the very first crops in less than 6 weeks. The cycle of life begins all over again and another season will be upon us.
Best wishes for 2015 and beyond!