Spring 2017, at last an update

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Snakes Head Fritillaries at Fox Meadow

Spring has got off to a difficult start. The initial warm weather in March has given way to sharp frost and cold wind in April and early May. This has caused problems in the veg patch and with our small orchard. Blossom, encouraged by the warmer weather has been scorched by the frosts and it remains to be seen if we will get many or the earlier flowering fruits such as plumbs and cherries.
The colder weather has enabled me to do more weeding and sort out our vegetable beds ready for some proper spring weather. Seeds are in the cold frames and I hope they will develop in time. The Asparagus was moved (against all advice) into a dedicated bed with plenty of manure and with the roots on raised soil to keep them well drained. Much to my surprise we have had 6 edible and sweet spears. Not much but I don’t want to over tax them this year. I have added some younger plants and hope that in two or more years we will have sufficient for our family use and some to sell at the gate.

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The forced rhubarb was excellent, a wonderful pink colour. It sold well at the gate and was given a lot of positive comments locally. I have invested in a second forcer thanks to some discount vouchers from Wyevale Garden Centre and hope we can generate even more rhubarb next year before the glut of garden gate sales.

We have been selling our spare fruit, flowers and vegetables since September, very modest but nice to see that it is appreciated.

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The booth

Unfortunately we have had quite a few things ‘ disappear’ without payment so have to set up a security camera, which is a great shame and dents our trust in people who are mostly very honest.

I have finally got some bees, last year I enrolled in an introductory course run by the Stowmarket Beekeepers and spend some time with a local beekeeper who kindly let me help catch a swam and extract honey. I was lucky enough to be selected as someone who could take over the bees of another local beekeeper who sadly passed away last year. So now I have three WBC hives (all freshly painted and cleaned) and one colony of very calm and busy bees. I am hoping to get a call about local swarms so I can build up to two or perhaps three working hives. The cold weather has not helped the bees but they do seem to have sufficient food for now. They are checked each week.

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The newly installed Apiary

It is hard to believe that the sheep have been with us for a year now, they are lovely Jacob Ewes, all very different in character. We had a few early foot problems but mostly they have been free of health issues. They are now very much part of the family, checked on twice a day.

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