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. Unfortunately, if it is a very dry growing season, then the irrigation just isn’t enough, and some berries just shrivel up.
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 some of the available space in our Blueberry field and so since 2017 we are gradually increasing production, by firstly adding the pinks, and in the winter of 2020/1 3 new varieties, Liberty, MegasBlue and Titanium – taking the total to 11 varieties.
We have tweaked the irrigation system to hopefully give the plants more of a drink when it’s dry and they are trying to plump up their lovely berries.
We have totally replaced ‘Sylvie net’ due to unrepairable snow damage, and have reinforced the larger Florence net, with extra posts and ones that have been treated so they won’t rot in the claggy clay soil!
At some point we would like to have some poly tunnels to bring the season forward a little, but replacing and repairing our existing nets, and increasing their capacity has been our priority.