Diary

Planting and planningRSS feed

Posted: Tuesday 15 March, 2016

by Rosemary Champion at 3:23pm in Smallholding 2 comments Add your own

Well, it’s starting to feel like spring might be on the way. It’s been pretty dry and we’ve had a couple of really nice sunny days. However, we’ve also had a wee outbreak of Norovirus, so that interrupted things for a bit but we’re all fine now.

Bryn’s chum, Angus the Springer Spaniel, is with us for three weeks while his humans are on holiday. Poor Angus has been well tormented but is quite able to sort out Bryn when he oversteps the mark. Bentley, Bryn’s Labrador chum, get’s on fine with Angus, once he accepted that humping Angus was really not acceptable behavior. A friend of ours compared Bryn to the Duracell bunny – and I can see it. I honestly can. The batteries are currently flat though.

The sheep are ticking along. Two weeks until the start of lambing; the cows go out this weekend; the barn’s being mucked out on Monday 21st and the sheep come in at the end of that week. I’m planning to vaccinate the cows this evening.

We’re still debating the barn extension. We will need to makes some decisions though, because if we’re going to apply to the Small Farm Grant Scheme, we can’t start work before the outcome of the application is known.

I’m a wee bit disgruntled with the farm support system (although not as disgruntled as a lot of farmers). We’ve applied for, and will get, the new Basic Payment for our land at Dalmore, but there will be nothing for our rented land. We were under the impression, following a couple of meetings run by RPID, that it didn’t matter who applied for the entitlements (to payment), i.e. tenant or landowner, so long as the land was eligible and was actively farmed. We agreed with the owner that he would apply (although I’m his agent) and any payment would come to us to maintain and improve the land through liming, reseeding, fencing etc. Turns out that’s not the case – we should have applied on OUR application - so we get nothing unless we buy entitlements. I don’t get it and it doesn’t seem fair (don’t want to sound whingy). I don’t “get” the entitlements thing either – surely land is eligible and actively farmed or it’s not, so where do these “entitlements” come from? With the Brexit issue around, I read a letter in “The Scottish Farmer” this week which said that CAP had been introduced by the EU to support small farmers (mainly in France) but in the UK, all it had done was drive up land prices. I think, sadly, there may be more than a little truth in that. Farmland here in Angus is selling for £15,000 an acre – I can’t think of anything you could farm on that acre that would service the borrowing to purchase.

The piglets we are buying as weaners are due to be born this week. Hope all goes well for Wee Ginge, the sow, and Cath, the breeder. We are debating calling the pigs Dave, Gideon and Boris. Should stop us getting too attached.

I finally finished the planting plan for the veg garden, so John’s sowing this week, under glass. I planted garlic at the weekend. I’ve weeded the polytunnel and soaked a small area where I can sow some lettuce, spring onions and herbs. I’m a bit of a salad dodger – but I would like some nice fresh greens. I’ve been pulling out the last of the brassicas and giving them to the sheep along with some of the ivy Dan’s trimmed off the “secret garden”.

So, I’m off to sow my salad. I need to learn how to include photos in these diary entries. Add to list of things to do.

Comments

Julie

Tuesday 15 March, 2016 at 8:26pm

I look forward to hearing what you've been up to. We've just bought an old farmhouse with a few acres. I'm desperate to start the veggie garden but we agreed not to rush in as the house is in need of a lot of work but you never know I may start digging yet 😉

zakferdie

Thursday 12 May, 2016 at 1:55pm

You have quite some choices planted for being a salad dodger :) Considering your're going for fresh greens I would suggest you go for some cabbage or (by taste)radishes as well(if you have the planting space that is). They would be a good companion plants and the plant-time is right.

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