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WILLOW FARM

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Waterland Organics;

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Hello , I am Paul , founder of Waterland Organics. For over 20 years now I have been growing organically in the Cambridgeshire Fens .  The journey has been long but has not finished . Hopefully , this blog will give you an insight into what do and the place where we do it ; It's grimness and its equisite beauty

20th April Cropshare Day

By pauljonathan, Apr 21 2013 03:11PM

Cropshare day on Saturday went well . Another planting of broad beans went , some strawberries and the final onion sets . As the moon was in the constellation of Leo , it was a good time to plant fruiting crops so hopefully this will bode well for the beans and strawberries . The overwintering onions were hoed as were the beans , rootstocks and garlic . The beans should particularly benefit from this as any work done on a fruiting crop when the moon is in a favourable constellation will help it along . Despite such a poor start to t year we have achieved much . Carrots , parsnips and early Spring plantings of broad beans are now emerging .The garlic has recovered from the persistent rabbit damage . All the main Spring crops have been sown and this has been helped my much of the soil being cultivated down to a seedbed with just a shallow ploughing and a roll or two with the Cambridge roll. One of my biggest worries had been the land coming out of grass clover leys . Ideally these would have been cultivated in the late Summer early Autumn and sown with vetch and grazing rye . This would have then been easily ploughed in when Spring arrived . Unfortunately due to the wet Autumn this job was never done . SO this Spring I have had to break down the large turves of ley into pieces small enough to enable a tilth to be produced suitable for sowing . Repeated cultivations and double ploughing at different depths has worked and planting has not been hindered too much by the odd unbroken turves . In this task we have been aided by strong drying winds and frost .In fact making a point of cultivating on a frosty morning , letting nature help you . This looking at the day and seeing what job best suits it , is much less stressful than having alist of tasks that MUST be done on a particular day ; it’s a Taoist form of farming , going with the flow. The job could have been aided by repeated rotavating of the soil but the rotavator is the work of the devil and give you short term gains for long term loss of your soil’s soul and structure . The action of the rotavator causes a hard pan around a foot down that roots cannot penetrate. It also knocks the soil down to its very grains and so produces a soil that will easily slump into a close packed medium with no air pockets and a soil that will easily blow away on a windy day .

1 comments
Apr 22 2013 10:25AM by Helen

Am liking these soil management blogs! Very interesting for me. Like how you are calling the sads/sods of grass ley turves in the blog. Very upmarket ;-) ! More soil updates please! :)

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