We wanted to explain one or two things about our plans at Colleymore ahead of a time later in the year when we can organise a walk of the fields for anyone interested to discuss things further.
For people who’d like to know more about the background to the farming system we’re hoping to put in place here, this link gives more information. https://wildfarmed.co.uk/andys-farming-journey/
The overarching principle is to have as much biodiversity in the fields as possible. Not just around the margins, but in the field itself. To do this, the harvestable crops are planted in strips, and surrounded by a mixture of different plants, ideally from as many different families as possible.
Our first attempt to establish things last autumn was very difficult. Supply chain issues led to the very late arrival of machinery followed by ongoing issues with it. As a result we didn’t get going until things were too wet. A lot of what we had hoped to plant didn’t get done and some of what we did is by no means optimal! With a fair spring, we’ll get things back on track.
In some fields, such as those around Badbury Clump , we have drilled into the existing pastures and will attempt to add some additional species into the pasture strips this spring. Elsewhere , we have had to create a clean seedbed so as to get the multispecies mixes off to a good start. That’s why you’ll see some ploughing at the moment. Once the mixtures are established, the hope is to disturb the ground as little as we can.
Over the growing season you may see a sprayer in the field. This is because we are testing the use of compost teas and seaweed sprays as ways to encourage soil biology. Fungicides, pesticides, herbicides - anything ending in “cide” in fact - will never be used. Everything we are trying to do is about encouraging as much life and diversity as possible.
Apologies if some locked gates have caused any inconvenience recently. We had to do this after suffering crop damage from joy riders. Doing so in a hurry meant that there were a couple of footpaths that were inadvertently locked for a little while
If we get approval from the relevant authorities, the below map gives an idea of what we hope to put in place over the coming seasons. You’ll see that overall the plan is to ‘farm in rectangles’, giving the rest of the land over to different habitats. Alongside the tree planting underway this autumn, we hope to add significant amounts of agroforestry - as indicated by the north/south strips on the map.
We’d like to setup a system by which, either by simple signposts or QR code links for phones, we can share information about what’s going on in each field so that for those interested it’s easier to follow the various processes and experiments. We will get there with this, it might just take a little time.
It’s a huge privilege to have taken on the stewardship of this land and we’ll do our very best to live up to the responsibilities that come with that.
Pink and brown areas are flower rich habitats or, in some places, new woodland.
Blue and green diagonal stripes are grassland
The north south striped pink strips are agroforestry
A second wave of agroforestry is planned for 5019, the big field near the village, and to break up the winds that blow across what Adam told me is often referred to as “Siberia” - the two fields behind the church.
You can download the image here.