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May at the Barn

Things are really moving fast in the beds and polytunnels of Tuppenny; with the arrival of warmer weather and longer days and we are surrounded by that verdant growth of the first flush of spring.

We have transitioned the tunnels from the winter salads into the summer crops – such as tomatoes, cucumbers, climbing French beans and some cut flowers for drying. Sweet peas have been flowering for several weeks now and the scent on warm days is magnificent. Outside we have planted celeriac which the slugs are enjoying immensely – Unfortunately it was a fantastic winter as far as being a slug goes and so they are making their presence felt!

Biodiversity Boost!

Taking notes from the inspirational Oxford Real Farming Conference some of the team attended at the beginning of the year, we are making a special effort to increase biodiversity across the site. So far we are:
  • Allowing the area immediately around the education centre to grow naturally, with the aim of increasing pollinators
  • Leaving some grassy areas to grow long, especially in the orchard
  • A percentage of vegetables that have finished are being left in situ to flower for pollinators
  • Selecting cut flower plants to grow which encourage open pollinators
  • Revisiting some of the plants on the herb bank that are pollinator friendly and increasing their presence

Sow and Thrive

We’re thrilled to have started our Sow and Thrive community gardening course for vulnerable adults. The first session went well as we all slowly got to know each other. One of the practical seasonal tasks the clients engaged with was cutting the broad bean tops to discourage blackfly, and we’ve been encouraging ladybirds to eat the rest! We will be covering seed sowing and propagation of vegetables in our next session. Our current group has nine people signed up and are we hoping to run a further two 10 week courses this year. Get in touch if you or someone you know is interested in taking part.

Blooming marvellous

The cut flower season is now upon us and we will have a continuous supply of beautiful blooms that can be bought in the shop or pre ordered for any occasion including bouquets, jar posies, remembrance flowers for wakes or buckets of flowers for weddings.  We are also happy to provide a subscription regular seasonal bouquet through the coming months for either yourself or gifted to family or friends. We have started our second veterans blooms flower farming course for female veterans –  this week we weeded the Dahlia bed nestled in the orchard and then did Dahlia stem cuttings.

The Outdoor Classroom

It’s been a busy month for the education team, but lots of fun too!
Bosmere Primary school enjoyed making colourful sticky strips at the end of a hot and sunny day. We have been renovating the bug hotel and exploring our mini beasts. The sunflower Group found a lizard, stag beetle larvae and ladybirds. This week we have dug out the Yurt which served as the original Tuppenny shop, which we hope to use as part of our education activites this summer.

Welcoming New Team Members

Kate Kerridge has already started with our Social Therapeutic Horticulture Team, and we are very pleased to have the extra help and support – Kate comes with lots of wisdom and experience from her work in Occupational therapy. Gabrielle is our newest team member  on the Sow and Thrive project, and we are delighted to have her join the team as a horticultural therapy practitioner. We are soon to also welcome Sara and Sophie.