After the wettest Autumn last year, we had the coldest Winter. This Spring is at least a month late and the amount of rain has hampered our grow to a large degree. We ploughed our land in November and normally we would prepare the soil in March for drilling in late April, but the land was so wet we couldnt get on with machinery until Saturday 21st April. We called on the help of our neighbours to get the seed in before the next wet spell and thanks to them we had the 7 acres power harrowed, drilled and rolled by Monday 23rd. Since then it has been unseasonably cold and windy which isnt great for germination. As soon as we get germination we will be posting photos on this page, fingers crossed!!
1: Ploughing in September.
2: Winter breaking the soil and killing the roots for us.
3: Rotovating in April
4: Drilling the seed 23rd April
5: Drilling again
6: Rolling the seed in.
Germination! 2nd May
Hoping (of course) for some heat and then we have the coldest week with a frost and temps around 5 degrees! Plenty rain as well… However our seeds were fine, buried in the good Wiltshire soil, waiting to be wakened up by water and warmth.
Germination became apparent on 2nd May with the first shoots visible in certain parts of the field….in the meantime we needed to fence against deer and rabbits….so on friday we hired in a 13 ton excavator from an employee owned business called Eagle Plant and started pushing our sweet chestnut fencing stakes (sustainably sourced) from Dorset Fencing Supplies nearly a metre into the ground. 13 tons of machine pushing stakes into the ground pretty much silently is extremely satisfying!
1: first shoots 2nd May
2: first true leaves 4th May
3: fencing in the May heat…
Growing! 10th May
1: true leaves 10th May
2: overview of the field 10th May
3: finishing the fencing
Week 3 (22 May)
Week 3 (22 May)
1 to 4: Individual plants
5: overview of the field 20th May
Week 4 (29 May)
1 – 4 male plants developing pollen sacs
5: fantastic growth, around 1.4m high
6: Overview of the field 5/6/18
Week 7 (19th June)
1: Plants are beginning to droop in the dry weather now around 2m in height
2: Plants are beginning to develop flowers
3: Everyone is fascinated by the plants
Week 7 (1st July)
1: Still no rain but the plants are soaring upwards
2: Getting ready to harvest the first half ton.
Week 8(8th July)
1: Still no rain, tap roots have extended downwards into the clay to collect water and again the plants are shooting up , in places they are 5 metres high.
2 and 3: Two photos taken from the ground.
4: Female flowers are starting to form.
Week 12(10th August)