June 2016

KIRTON AND FALKENHAM GARDENERS CLUB Thurs. 14th. July - Visit – Lavender Medicine Farm, Bucklesham Times to be advised. June visit - Home Farm Nacton June saw our long awaited visit to Home Farm Nacton and we were blessed with a perfect summer evening, warm sunshine and no breeze. Andrew Williams had given us a talk in 2015 and this visit was to literally see the operation on the ground. We started with the cold stores and vegetable processing areas and then boarded tractors and trailers for a conducted tour of the field crops. On my way to golf in Ipswich I see many fields with ‘ Home Farm Nacton’ signs and this is because much of the acreage is rented from other farmers. The scale of the operation is amazing. Home farm has some 1200 acres at Nacton with about 500 acres of this over to organic production. Another 3800 acres are also rented and this is increasing. Many crops are grown out of the normal season, we saw leeks being harvested , the plants having been germinated in Morocco and then hand planted. Parsnips were due to be harvested in June after being sown under fleece and plastic in November. Carrots were being harvested as were onions which are sent to Eye for drying out before ending up in Tesco’s. This is light land and much depends on irrigation on a massive scale and Andrew performed his party trick of turning the water on and off by mobile phone. However potatoes are drip fed to combat blight which is air borne in humid conditions. In all some 40 crops and 100 varieties are grown and with the use of fleece sometimes two crops are year are achieved. For 46 gardening members this was fascinating stuff and a chance to enjoy this farmland around the Orwell estuary, and for the vegetable growing members some ideas on how to get early crops. June - Members’ Garden Party A perfect June summer afternoon was the back drop to our members’ summer garden party in the beautiful grounds of Kirton Old Rectory. The only thing on the agenda for the 49 members was tea , cakes , strawberries and cream and the rare chance relax and chat. Our hosts, Gill and Neil Garnham gave us tours of the garden and this was the perfect summer afternoon to round off a busy week.. Our thanks again to Gill and Neil for hosting the day. Chelsea Flower Show Chelsea has been and gone and still attracts massive support despite the so called conceptual gardens which sometimes descend into the ridiculous. For me Diarmed Gavin headed the bizarre stakes with his eccentric Arts and Crafts garden with its fair ground of revolving gardens and yews closely followed by the Japanese designer with his garden built around and on a garage complete with Mini! Poor old Matthew Wilson again got the thumbs down from the judges with a mere silver medal for his Yorkshire garden, but common sense prevailed when he got the peoples award of best garden in show. Monty Don got the short straw and had to interview Grayson Perry – the latter himself looking very much like a walking flower garden My gold medal would go to the man whose company sources thousands of flowers, plants, trees and shrubs from all over the world for the garden designers and has to deliver them on time in perfect nick. Some responsibility! All good stuff though and for me Sophie Raworth is an improvement on Alan Titchmarsh! July visit - Thurs. 14th July – Lavender Medicine Farm, Bucklesham This month a short trip to the Lavender Medicine Farm , Holly Lane, Bucklesham where we may be able to walk around the fields and cut some lavender at the same time being wary of the bees! We also may be able to make soaps or creams. Departure and assembly times will be in the monthly email. Tales from the Allotments This is the time of the year when all the weeks of hard work start to pay off. The early summer crops are now being harvested , salads, broad beans, courgettes , those tasty new potatoes and on the fruit side we already have strawberries and gooseberries,with raspberries and currants close behind. My asparagus will finish at the end of June after producing at least one bunch a day for two months.