A New Adventure with a New Farm!

So I have only gone and in what can only be described as a moment of pure madness (considering the 5 month old baby and job that I will need to return to in the Spring), I contacted the local estate to see if a long-coveted paddock of grass might be available to rent for me to create an actual flower farm.

I have, thus far, been growing all of my creations in my garden - a sizeable space but still nonetheless limited and constantly challenged by the need to function as a farming space whilst looking appealing as a garden.

So, after the estate surprisingly agreed to my impulsive request for the paddock of my dreams, I am now scaling up! Yay! EEEEEEEEEK!

The area is much larger than I will initially need (2.5acres), but I will happily be sharing this space with my sister's ponies - always grateful for the company, so long as they keep their gnashers off my roses... It is a field that I have ridden my own horse past for the last 28 years, so I know it well. It has access to mains water (big tick, though I will be installing water butts to collect rainwater too), is a flat site with loads of sunlight too. It has been a previous home to ponies, and then more recently a handful of cattle, but then has been left fallow for the last year.

As far as I can see in the grass, the weeds we might have the biggest issues with are thistles - so no major issues there, at first glance anyway.

My first job on my patch of the new 'farm' was to mow the grass sward down a little, as it was reaching around 12 inches in height. I could have (should have) hired someone with a big tractor mower to do this job in mere minutes, as I was only mowing about a third to a half of an acre for my first beds. However, financial constraints and a lack of organisation due to a severe case of covid-brain-meltage, meant that the work was done by myself, over a few evenings, with my very trusty workhorse of a 41" Hayter lawnmower. I may have had to empty the cuttings basket and unclog the shute every row of mowing, but she did the job, for which I am eternally grateful.

The next job so far completed was done this past weekend, where, with a little help from my husband Rob, brother-in-law Russ, mum Claire and sister Kate, I pushed a turf cutter around and created 18 flower beds.

Each bed is orientated in a north-south direction, which puts them at a bit of a diagonal in the paddock. This is important though as it means that as the sun moves from east to west throughout each day, the plants will (hopefully) get the most access to the sun and also grow straighter, giving me more, longer, useable stems. The beds are also about 1.2m wide, so that I can easily reach into the centre from either side, and the length? Well, I will get around to measuring their length at some point I am sure... 

Now I am on the hunt for low-cost substrate for my no-dig flower beds. I have been collecting loads of cardboard, thanks to the generous local public and the power of Facebook community groups, and now need something to plant the plants actually into...

Finances are dictating that we will probably go with old horse manure, most of which has been kindly donated by Nuala, Bea and Rosie, my (and Mum's) gorgeous horses that live just 2 miles down the road - not bad for a peat-free, low carbon footprint option eh?! 

I will do my best to continue to update on here as to my progress - watch this space!

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