Our sustainable farmWe have a sustainable solution on our farm consisting of harvested rainwater and use of a natural well in our garden. We raise this using a solar-powered pump into tanks before releasing the tank valves and allowing gravity to route the water through our irrigation pipes.
Water and Irrigation
Blueberries are hardy plants which lay dormant throughout the winter months. But, as a result, they’re very slow-growing and often take up to a decade (or longer) to reach maturity, living eventually for 30-40 years.
However, they also need a lot of water in the growing season. We could simply turn the taps on from our home but that would mean chemically-treated water in significant quantities which isn’t ideal.
So, instead we have a sustainable solution consisting of harvested rainwater and use of a natural well in our garden. We raise this using a solar-powered pump into tanks before releasing the tank valves and allowing gravity to route the water through our irrigation pipes.
Our Honey Bees
Blueberries and bees make perfect companions, working together to create a perfect natural environment for our superfood. With nearly 1600 blueberry plants, we need a lot of pollination to occur if we’re to get the best harvest. Blueberries are also very sociable plants and like to be nearer their friends.
With multiple varieties of blueberry plant, we have the perfect site to cross-pollinate and achieve the tastiest fruit. Our bees help us do that in a completely natural way.
So, we have a honey bee hive in our blueberry field filled with thousands of natural pollinators who also provide some lovely Devonshire honey!
From springtime onwards, the bees are active across all of the 8 varieties of our blueberry plants.
We have only used a small proportion of the available space in our Blueberry field and hope to gradually increase production over the next few years, as well as diversifying with some recipe cards and, potentially, some homemade chutneys and jellies.
The spring and summer will see all our effort focused on getting this year’s crop to be the tastiest we can manage but the winter will also hopefully allow for some level of expansion. To do so, we plan to put a small polytunnel to create the right conditions for early fruit to be grown and hence reduce the need for our customers to buy imported fruit with their ridiculous number of food miles.
My project is challenging as it’s completely new to me and I’m learning every day as I go along. But, the soil is of the correct balance for blueberries, I have my own on-site honey bees for pollination and my well makes it very environmentally sound as I’m not taking anything that isn’t already available within a few steps from my door.
The things I can’t currently control are frost which will kill any flowers that have bloomed and will stop the bush producing fruit that year, and high winds which will damage the delicate flowers – that is another reason why a polytunnel is so important.