Early Summer on the Farm
Welcome back to this occasional update on our activities, here at the Herb Farm!
As I write this it’s the beginning of July and, at last, the sun has appeared! After the overcast and wet Spring, the ground is just starting to dry out; though it still sticks to our boots! We have a lot of clay in our soil, so it takes quite a while for the ground to recover. After pestering me for them for some years, I relented and bought Dyse, our fieldsman, some puncture-proof tyres for his wheelbarrows – it seemed the appropriate time. However, my trusty rotovator of over thirty years had to be retired (I couldn’t get an essential replacement part).
For some of our herbs, like the Astragalus that we had such high hopes for, recent months have been a struggle. However, for others, we’ve seen some really strong growth. It’s been the best year I’ve known for Cleavers (the long tendrils with small, sticky buds): we managed to harvest over 120kgs of herb where, normally, it would be less than half that. The Echinacea is also looking very good with dense healthy stems and leaves; the flower heads are just beginning to show the characteristic purple colour, so that looks promising for harvesting in early August. Today’s strong sunshine meant that the Mullein flowers opened up, so we started harvesting those straightaway and they’ve gone straight into the dryer.
Some of you have been asking whether the farm will be open this year. For many years we’ve held Open Farm events in July, where we’re joined by hundreds of enthusiastic Herbfarmacy friends, raising funds for local and national charities. It’s something we love to do but, unfortunately, this year we’ve not been able to. They take an awful lot of time to organise and it’s one of those years when a number of things just conspired against us. However, we hope to be able to open the farm next year.
Right, enough of this! I’ve got to get back into the fields as there’s 50kg of Oat seeds that need to be picked.