As you may have seen from my Instagram, this week, I signed the lease on a beautiful growing space just down the road from the farm. Many of our regular customers will know that I have been searching for land for almost 18 months, and it has been a journey of lots of ups and downs and dead ends, so to finally be able to announce this to all our lovely loyal customers is the best feeling ever!
I would be lying if I didn't admit that it has come with lots of self-doubt and feeling overwhelmed, especially returning to work after Christmas. However, that is slowly fading; I think it's natural to feel wobbly after taking on such a big project.
For the past few years, I have been utilising every single empty space in our garden at home, but it just wasn't enough, and due to the layout, it was completely inefficient. Last summer, all of our fabulous customers sold me out every week; I just couldn't grow enough flowers to satisfy demand; it was soul-destroying to have to turn people away. This space will allow me to grow loads more flowers and do it more efficiently; it also allows me to offer more workshops, experiences and availability for events.
I can't wait to get started on developing the plots and turning it into productive growing space. It is going to be a massive project and challenge; the weeds were taller than me when I first looked at the plot, but slowly, we are getting them under control! I am planning on using the No-Dig Method (research Charles Downing if you are interested in knowing more) to suppress the weeds and minimise the weed pressure on the plot. So we will have lots of flower beds with wood chip or wool pathways in between.
The picture above shows what the plot currently looks like, but once we have made a start, it will look very different! It is going to take time to develop the whole plot; it is about a 1/4 acre, so I will build beds as I need them so that I can keep on top of them.
The plot is in a beautiful, sheltered spot, which is perfect. Flowers hate the wind, so it is fantastic this plot has big hedges on each side. It is south-facing and will have some morning and evening shade, which is perfect for summer flower picking. I can't wait to spend summer evenings picking flowers there; it is going to be stunning once it is all developed. There are well-established apple trees all around the edge of the plot, which I am going to keep (I need to learn how to prune them) as many of them as possible; the apples are delicious and super important for wildlife. We may have to move some of the apple trees to fit in a future workshop space, but I am hoping to relocate them rather than remove them completely. My plan to utilise the space under the apple trees is to put perennial borders underneath them and have them surrounding the edge of the plot.
There are certainly going to be plenty more days of sowing seeds and lots of hard work to develop this plot, but I am so ready for the challenge!
I need all the help I can get, so if you have any ideas or can foresee any problems with my current plans, please let me know, and leave a comment.