This Farming Life - Summer
Plenty to do at Castlefarm this month, with weeding an important job to keep under control - and then foraging in the hedgerows for pleasure
This month I will be spending lots of time walking the farm digging ragwort (the yellow weed that you often see on vacant land in summertime), cutting thistles and nettles. As an organic farm we cannot use pesticides to spray these weeds, instead we pull them up by the roots or cut them down, before they go to seed. Ragwort, when cut, is poisonous to cattle and horses so needs to be collected and disposed of carefully.
Apart from tackling the Castlefarm weeds in the fields and in the garden I am also taking lots of pleasure foraging in the Castlefarm hedgerows. I have been really inspired by ‘Wild Food’, the foraging book written by Evan Doyle and Biddy White Lennon. I am really enjoying learning more about the free foods in our hedgerows and along our shores. Tomorrow I will decant my Elderflower Champagne and I also have a vat of elderflower cordial on the go.
In the Castlefarm garden my onions and turnips are coming on really well. Parsnips and beetroot are slow to grow. I am thrilled to be enjoying a bounty of cucumbers at last from the polytunnel. These have arrived 6 weeks later than usual due to the cold spring.
In May I bought day old chicks to rear to laying hens. These are growing at a very fast rate, eating and drinking lots and starting to perch. Incessant fox attacks are causing the older hens and ducks as well as me a lot of stress. We have electrified fences surrounding the hens, but each week the fox seems to be coming earlier and getting more brazen in its attack. There really are too many foxes in the country and with the growth of their population; they are under pressure to feed themselves.
I continue to open the farm shop at different times each weekend and let people know by email and facebook. So make sure to email me to go onto our database or like Castlefarm Shop on facebook. I also attend the food market at Macreddin, Aughrim on the first Sunday of every month.
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