Spring in the Smallholding 2018

Spring has finally arrived, and the smallholding looks beautiful at this time of year, with the blossom on the cherry, almond, plum and apple trees, and the cute lambs that have recently been born!

Over the next week or so the kitchen will be using the last of the pak choi, tatsoi and winter salads that have been growing well in the polytunnels during the colder months. We have also just started to harvest the fresh mangetout peas, asparagus and carrots, which are always popular with guests here at South Farm.

One of the few crops that stays green over the winter is garlic – we grow 4 different varieties, including some enormous ‘elephant’ garlic, all of which are looking good and will be harvested later on in the summer.

Needless to say, the weather conditions this spring have been challenging, meaning that growers everywhere are starting to cultivate the soil a few weeks later than usual. However, we are now busy planting the first onion sets, potatoes, cabbages and broccoli. Over the coming months these will be joined by delicious courgettes, beans, sweetcorn, root vegetables, brassicas, herbs and salads.

This season we are growing 8 different types of tomatoes, of all shapes and sizes, including yellow cherry tomatoes and ‘indigo beauty’ an unusual purple cultivar.  The first of these have just been planted in the polytunnels, soon to be followed by chillies, peppers and aubergines.

The fruit bushes have started to spring back into life, with the promise of fresh berries and currants in the summer. A seasonal treat at this time of year is ‘forced’ rhubarb- we put wooden boxes over the plants in winter, so the plants grow in the dark and have exceptionally sweet, thin stems, which are being used now by the kitchen in many desserts.

Photo Credit to Liz Greenhalgh Photograhpy