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NEWS FROM THE FARM

As I write this, there have been snow flurries here in the south and the temperature has certainly dropped by a few degrees.

October was a lovely month for us; dry and warm, which meant our cover crops grew really well. Our buckwheat flowered for a long time providing some very welcome late nectar for the bees. However buckwheat doesn't like cold weather and it has started to fall over now. The linseed was somewhat slower to flower so didn't provide much late-season help for the bees.

This was Richard's first home produced cover crop and he is very pleased with the mix ratios of the various plants that he put together. This particular cover crop contained the following: oats, phacelia, linseed, buckwheat and sunflowers. Each element with a specific function, contributing to improved soil quality and stability. 

  • Oats have a deep fine root which hold nitrogen and potash in the soil, and when the plant dies off it provides lots of organic matter for worms, so we see huge numbers of worm casts everywhere :)
  • The phacelia will flower for the bees and it also has a shallow, fibrous root which gives a nice tilth for the soil.
  • Linseed will flower and its deep root really helps with soil drainage.
  • Buckwheat offers a late pollen source for bees and is a good phosphate recoverer. All clever stuff!

This is the first year Richard has direct-drilled his wheat and it is also looking really good. He had previous problems with soil compaction, so this time he ran a sub-soiler with new 'low-disturbance' legs to minimise soil compaction and the wheat looks really well as a result.