The two main vegetable areas, laid out in the ‘new and old paddocks’, are sub-divided into a series of beds which always boast seasonal delights. In the spring, asparagus is followed by fresh spring greens, new potatoes and green garlic. During the summer, multi coloured french beans, combined with fennel, courgettes and beetroot while the autumn brings carrots, rich onion squash and climbing borlotto beans. Even during the winter numerous types of kale, savoy cabbages and pink fur apple potatoes provide wonderful quality produce. For more details see the cropping plans.
All the ‘exotic’ vegetables (aubergines, cucumbers, peppers, tromboncino, tomatoes and chillies etc.) are grown in the polytunnels during the summer season. As soon as these are harvested a mix of winter salads, oriental veg and multicoloured chard replace them ensuring a year round harvest from the tunnels. In 2012 we added three new tunnels to enhance our ability to provide home grown food for longer, for example we can now provide April and May weddings with a range of wonderfully fresh veg including baby carrots, pak choi, salads and new potatoes!
The herb garden is full of aromatic and interesting plants including a raised bed of seven types of mint. The herbs are clipped fresh for immediate use in the kitchen. By the end of 2014, we had served over 50,000 meals using fresh produce from our smallholding.
The farm is run on organic principles and we pride ourselves on increasing bio-diversity as much as possible. Rotations, which include green manure, are a key part of our management – the ‘old paddock’ utilizes an eight year rotation while the ‘new paddock’ has a seven year rotation. The vegetables are grown according to ‘family groups’ which are rotated on an annual basis. The green manure is used as part of the rotation to increase the amount of organic matter and nutrients held within the system.
Continuing the long tradition of fruit growing in South Cambridgeshire, South Farm has two main orchard areas and a nuttery.
The plum orchard, planted in 2008, forms part of the ‘old paddock’ and contains over 20 different types of plums. The apple/pear orchard is to the left of the main drive and is part of the gardens laid out in 2010. This new orchard contains many heritage varieties on mix of traditional and dwarfing rootstocks. There is also an espalier of apples and pears in the ‘old paddock’.
The nuttery planted in 2010 stretches from the formal herb garden towards the grazing paddocks and contains an almond avenue, several walnuts, a stand of sweet chestnut and a hazel coppice full of buttery cob nuts and filberts.