April updates from Castle Farm

Fieldwork

The Spring Barley seeds sown in March are already bursting through the soil in search of sunshine… it is very satisfying to see the fields turn from brown to green…. and Farmers Crispin and William have been out checking progress in the fields on a daily basis.

We have just started preparing land for Maize planting – we harvest maize in the Autumn to feed our Castle Farm Cattle over winter.

Hop Training

We have been hand-training Hops this week.. Every year we hand train each of our Hop Plants – carefully choosing the strongest shoots and twisting them in a clockwise direction up the hop strings. All the remaining shoots are then cut back. This ensures that the hop plant concentrates on growing its strongest shoots over the summer, thereby ensuring strong, even Hop Bines come harvest time in late August and early September! See our video of Hop Training at Castle Farm.

If needed in your garden, you can order Hop String online.

Lavender planting

Our mature Lavender plants are slowly waking up ahead of the summer – the rows are turning green and you can already smell the strong Lavender scent when close to the plants.

We have also taken delivery of 17,000 new baby Lavender plants – we are planting this week, and then next week the twice-weekly hand-watering will begin!

The image below shows the tractor preparing the rows for Lavender to be planted into….

 

Apple orchards

The orchard is looking magical in blossom…. delicate white / pink flowers are decorating the trees.. and the bees are very busy! It is very peaceful… particularly with such a noticeable reduced volume of overhead plane traffic!

Rural crime

Sadly, we have experienced an increased level of rural crime on the farm since lockdown, from poaching fish, trespassing and fly tipping. However, the local Kent Police, Rural Task Force and The Environment Agency have been excellent at speedy response times, with all crimes reported immediately… however this has certainly kept us on our toes and our excellent CCTV system is working overtime!

Thank you everyone for our continued support of the farm via our farm shop.. it has been heartwarming to see all the lovely messages people are sending out with gifts… and the thank yous from people who are putting our Lavender Oils to good use!

Hopefully these farm gates will be back open again soon!


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