The Farm in August

Water Chestnuts are a reed and grow in water, they are in fact a root tuber.
In July this year I am sure our sweet chestnuts became water chestnuts.It rained almost every day of the month and we had the wettest and what felt like the coldest July in a decade.The dams are overflowing and the trees have easily reached the 600mm of rain they need to do well.
It has been excellent weather for the farm, but not excellent weather to be a farmer.In July the aim is to get piles of rubbish burned and the trees pruned ready for spring. None of that has been done as it is too wet to get on the land.
August we hope will be a catch up month when we can get some mulching and pruning done in the orchard ready for spring.
This winters rain is great omen for next years crop and at this stage we could see a bumper year.
Even though it feels life winter, the animal life on the farm has decided it is spring.Two of our Wessex Saddleback pigs are pregnant for the first time, our Wiltshire Sheep have started lambing and the guinea fowl are chasing each other  at great speed as they try to mate.The only guys who are convinced it is not spring are our chickens who have given up laying.
We heard from a fellow sweet chestnut farmer last week that he was ready for retirement and has sold his farm.He has sold the property to a family that do not want the chestnut trees. We have purchased some of his equipment, but it is sad to hear that a tree that can live for a thousand years ,will no longer be grown on this property. The result is we will lose a beautiful and valuable  orchard in the chestnut community and this valuable food crop will get even scarcer. it may be time to plant some more trees

By John Stanley

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