Future plans, increased turnover

Parsley and about thyme for future cash turnover

It might still be winter and Growly Copse might concentrate on herbs, but there’s still a lot of hard slog to prepare for the season.

Squirrel making a decision. Photo by Aidan Sammons

This year, after years of building stock from UK plants, there are plans afoot to begin trading. A certain knack with large crops of coriander (cilantro) makes this cash crop a no-brainer, along with parsley. It’s been talked over here at the nursery time and again about the supply of parsley – it’s either an exorbitant price for a wilting bunch, you can’t get it at all or it’s a hydroponic, tasteless herb for those without a sense of smell.

But those two are only part of the game and currently we have more pressing work.

I’ve been developing beds around the field. It’s a slow process as the soil itself has become claggy with its clay make-up exacerbated into a sludge by endless down-pours and run-off. Years of feeding the soil with good manure, turning it, picking out the stones and spreading cuttings at the beginning of winter has produced huge benefits. The time-consuming stone collecting (done while digging and weeding) efforts, along with the manure, has now produced a beautifully healthy loamy soil.

Diggers and (Somerset) levellers

The stones have gone into small ditches around the beds that drain away excess water and provide useful paths between the beds. Ditches, by the way, all dug by hand.

But this is ongoing and there are more ditches to be dug, more stones shifted and tons more manure spread.

I’m also preparing for the first polytunnel to get its plastic sheeting on and to be populated by the ongoing seed sowing process. Other existing plant stock needs re-potting and it’s all hands to the pumps in the coming weeks.

Winter herbination

But the stock already here needs tender love and care. Unbelievably, the rosemary bushes and thyme – especially the lemon thyme – seemed to have thrived over the winter with little die-back. The orange thyme, spearmint and lemon balm are all due for a vigorous ‘haircut’.

Elsewhere, the fences will get strengthened for a big planting of honey suckle along some of the hedge rows, its more manure on the rhubarb and horseradish and the chives need a damn good weeding.

Back to work!

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