an easy spring + the wild west

We have just come through one of the easiest springs for a long time, with near perfect conditions for planting and weed control. Keeping moisture in the soil is a bit of a challenge, but generally it just means us doing as little cultivation as possible before going in and planting. In this part of the country and with the medium to heavy land that we have here at Stockley, it is very rare that we need to irrigate; with an average rainfall of 60 inches per year, we seem to hold enough moisture to keep things growing. However it has been close in the last two weeks as we have started to transplant module-grown seedlings, which need soaking with water after planting to give them an initial drink. Just as things were beginning to get critical we have had a good amount of rain showers over the weekend of the 7th and 8th May and it looks like the showers are set to continue through the coming week. This is also good news for the first crop new potatoes as they too were getting thirsty. Collette, a new variety for us, should be first out of the ground by the end of May. I really do look forward to the first of the new potatoes as the taste is stunning and it marks the beginning of the new crops going into the vegboxes.

The cows went out to the fields on the 3rd of April this year, which is the earliest that we have ever turned them out. Obviously they love being out in the warm sunny weather, and we captured the event on video – go to www.stockleyfarm.co.uk to watch it. It makes such a difference seeing cows happily grazing outside rather than being in the shed and looking over the gate.

Visitor numbers through April have been good thanks to our themed weeks which have gone down really well. Lambing was the main theme in April, and through May we go onto ‘how farmers help us’, so I’ve washed the wellies and the overalls and brushed up on the elocution lessons. Meanwhile Saturday 28th May will see us donning our cowboy suits and Indian headdresses as we get into a wild west theme and host a big family hoedown at the farm, so book your tickets now.

John Walton