Category Archives: Farm News

Refill Detergents

We do a great range of refill detergents, supplied by SESI.

They are wonderfully ethical – not tested on animals, vegan, biodegradable, fair wages for everyone in the supply chain, no single-use plastic – all the containers are washed and re-used.

Here is our stock list:

Product £ per litre
Washing up liquid (spiced ginger)  £ 2.00
Washing up liquid (fragrance free)  £ 2.00
Biological laundry liquid (with fragrance)  £ 3.00
Non-bio laundry liquid (Unfragranced)  £ 2.50
Fabric conditioner (Cologne)  £ 2.00
All purpose surface cleaner (Lavender & Rosemary)  £ 2.00
Toilet cleaner (Lotus & Sea Salt)  £ 2.40
White vinegar for cleaning  £ 1.00
Hand soap (Fig)  £ 6.00
Hand soap (English Rose)  £ 6.00
Hard water rinse aid  £ 2.00
Dishwasher machine detergent powder (£ per kg)  £ 4.00
Eco laundry detergent powder (£ per kg)  £ 4.20

Weed – Pick – Wash

We have a new volunteering opportunity on Tuesdays.

Tuesday is our day for picking and washing veg for the shop, ready for Wednesday. We weed/prune/pick and then wash the veg. It’s how we stay on top of the weeding, doing it at the same time as picking for the shop.

All our leafy greens can get a bit muddy with all the rain we get – we always wash them and do a second check on the quality of what we are putting in the shop.

We do this from 0900 to 1100 on Tuesdays. If you would like to help, you need to book in advance.

Please call and leave a message on 023 8218 2716 to book a space.

Christmas Singing

Join us on Friday 20 December at 6.30pm for some festive singing round the bonfire.

This event has become our annual tradition with Living Lordswood Community Choir.

We will be serving hot drinks and cakes. Living Lordswood will lead the singing.

At 7.30pm or thereabouts they will go off to do more singing around the local houses. You can go with them or stay by the fire.

This is our winter social event for volunteers, so do come along and celebrate the year on the farm.

Permaculture Southampton 2018-04-14

In February and March we visited Liz Batten and had a really good time sharing our permaculture ideas and doing some practical work in her back garden.

This has been a simple but effective activity and we are keen to try it in another context. Do you have a project we can visit and follow the same kind of pattern? We think it is good to meet twice, to give time to think about the project and then do what we can the following visit.

Meanwhile, for the April and May sessions of Permaculture Southampton we will return to the farm.

Our next dates are Saturday April 14 and Saturday May 19 and we will gather to share our interests and expand our knowledge around permaculture. Bring your questions, ideas, inquiries, projects and problems that can be explored by the group using permaculture ethics and principles.

The plan is to arrive at 10am for some practical activity. We will talk permaculture over lunch.

Bulbs – 2018

New for 2018 – we are selling potted bulbs. You can enjoy them in the pot and then plant them in your garden.

We have chosen varieties that are hardy – they will survive in your garden or in pots and most will ‘naturalise’ – they will multiply and get better each year.

Plant in moist but well-drained and fertile soil. After flowering. allow foliage to die back naturally as this will help to feed the bulbs for the following year. It is important that the ground is not too wet when they are dormant otherwise they will rot and not grow again. After a few years, overcrowded clumps can be lifted and divided in the season when the bulbs are dormant.

The following information is from our supplier’s website: jparkers.co.uk

Name Flowering details Price
Crocus: Blue Pearl
(pot of 4)
February. Pastel soft, pearly blue; orange stigmata
h 10cm
£2.00
Crocus: Ard Schenk
(pot of 4)
February. Pure white, free flowering, long lasting.
h 10cm
 £2.00
Crocus: Ruby Giant
(pot of 4)
February. Striking ruby purple. Showy and outstanding
h 10cm
 £2.00
Crocus: Fuscotinctus
(pot of 4)
February. Deep yellow, striped purple.
h 10cm
 £2.00
Grape Hyacinth
(pot of 3)
Mid Feb to mid May. Bright blue.
h 15cm
 £2.50
Anemone: Blanda Mixed
(pot of 3)
Early March. Fine mixture of blue, pink and white shades.
h 10-15cm
 £3.00
Anemone: de Caen
(pot of 3)
April- May. Single long-stemmed poppy flowered. Great variety of colours.
h 10-15cm.
 £3.00
Tulip: Kaufmanniana Mixed
(pot of 3)
March-April. Mix of white, yellow, red
h 25cm
 £3.00
Daffodil: Tete a Tete
(pot of 1)
March, April. Yellow. 2-3 flowers / stem.
h 20cm
 £1.50
Dutch Iris
(pot of 3)
Mid April to mid June. Shades of purple, lilac, white and yellow.
h 50cm
 £3.00
Drumsticks /
Alium sphaerocephalon
(pot of 5)
May, June. Crowded heads of purple drumsticks. The flowers open green, then start to turn purple from the top, creating unusual two-tone flower heads.
h 60cm
 £3.00
Ranunculus Mixed
(pot of 3)
May, June, July
Mixed colours.
Compact Peony-shaped flowers.
h 20-25cm
 £3.00
Peruvian Lily / Alstroemeria
(pot of 1)
June to August.
Shades of pink, coral and orange.
h 45cm
 £1.50
Dwarf Gladioli: Mixed (Dwarf)
(pot of 3)
June, July, August.
Many different colours.
h 50cm
 £3.00
Ixia Mixed
(pot of 3)
June, July.
Showy six-petalled starlike flowers on tall wiry stems, sword-shaped leaves.
Various bright colours.
h 45cm
 £2.50

Report – December 2017

It was a month of extremes. It was -4°C on the 12th and yet 12°C on the 30th. And we had over 15mm of rain on the 10th, 26th and 29th.

We worked a total of 217 hours in December – 35 hours by staff and 182 hours by volunteers.

These are the things we achieved, with some of the people who achieved them:

  • Soup!! One cold Saturday Leesa made an amazing soup 100% from the land soup using Jerusalem artichoke, beetroot, spinach, onions and herbs – all freshly harvested that day!
  • Potted a range of spring and summer bulbs for sale in the shop. Claudia and Celeste made an ingenious set of labels with cheerful symbols so we don’t get our crocuses confused with our anemones.
  • Made Christmas decorations from our range of logs and poles cleared from the land (Nathan, Peter, Adele)
  • Sawed logs (Dan) donated to us into wood-burner length and then splitting them (Peter).
  • Pruned the hedges running along the pavement on Aldermoor Road (our shop window!) and keeping the paths clear around our pond (Gordon).
  • Chicken news:
    • We had to deal with the aftermath of a fox getting amongst the chickens in our polytunnel. Only 3 were killed – our rooster did a valiant job defending the flock. He took nearly a week to recover, spending most of the time standing with his head resting on the ground in front of him. A few of the hens would lie down under him at night to give him support. “Our hero!”. We now have an electric fence close up to the polytunnel all the way around.
    • We made a large new rain shelter for flock of chickens working over the vegetable beds. The four new chickens donated to us in November are now merged with the vegetable bed flock, with a rooster keeping them all in line.
    • Our polytunnel chickens had a lake form outside their front door with all the heavy rain – we’ve had to dig a ditch right through from front to back to drain it.
  • BioCycle continued to deliver compostables from students – totalling 575kg since October!!
  • Picked the last of our peppery salad mix from the polytunnel and our kale, spinach and chard from the veg beds (Adele, Leesa)
  • Hosted Permaculture Southampton for a morning’s activity on the farm – this is what we did:
    • Pruned back our sea spinach (a perennial variety) and picked over 3kg of good leaves from it (Max, Susan, Geoffroy).
    • Built a palisade from sticks and branches cleared from our chicken meadow to make a new woodchip path down a previously slippery muddy slope to the goose house (Max, Susan, Geoffroy, Helen)
  • Pruned the black currants and were encouraged at how much 1 year old growth there is ready to produced currants this year.
  • Built a Rumford outdoor fireplace – see Winter Warmer below (Leesa, Chelsea, Tim and Ellie).
  • A roe deer jumped over our top fence from higher ground at the top of the hill. We had to break down part of the fence lower down the hill to let it out again. We’ve now adapted the fence so we can un-hook it if that happens again, and we’ve raised the height of the fence at the top of the hill. AND we’ve mended all the chicken fences that the deer turned to matchsticks as it raced around all a-panicked.

Winter warmer
We started the month with some creative heavy lifting – using old breeze blocks and bricks already on the site we made an outdoor fireplace modelled on a Rumford fireplace.

It was very popular on our open day at the beginning of December and much used for our new farm tradition – cooking pizza on a stick.

Saturday 2nd December was our first ever Christmas open day. Full report and videos here.

The fire also gave a very cheery glow to our evening of Christmas songs on the last Friday before Christmas, led by Living Lordswood Community Choir.

Planning
We met with West Solent Solar Co-operative to discuss possible grant assistance to help us get mains electricity to the barn (at last!).

We had an exciting meeting with the energetic Robin from Bitterne Box Co where we planned all the veg we are going to grow next year for his doorstep box delivery scheme.

We had a very helpful directors meeting where we discussed how we will cope without Adam in 2018, and how to plan effectively. The main outcomes are in our January news.

In the shop
Our shop was busy throughout December selling the last of our winter salads and greens, and also a new range of decorations and tea light holders made from wood.

Permaculture Southampton 2017-10-21

We’ve now considered the first three principles of permaculture and we find that they are giving us insight as our discussions continue. We are getting good at thinking of the things that matter to us in terms of systems. This month we are thinking about the signals we get from our systems that show us the ‘bad’ consequences of our activities.

The principle is 4. Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback.

In acknowledging the harmful consequences of our systems we will be considering where we set the edge of our systems because that defines where we accept the responsibility what needs to be regulated.

Powerful ideas this month include:

  • different attitudes to things that belong to “me” and things that belong to “us” (or others).
  • isolation from the consequences of how our system is designed
  • self-responsibility – a powerful change agent
  • self-reliance and it’s relationship to self-regulation

Outline for the day:

  • [optional] 1000 Volunteering: Come and do some work on the farm to immerse yourself in what we have been learning about permaculture.
  • [optional] 1230 Bring-and-share lunch
  • 1330-1630 Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback: We are working through the 12 principles of permaculture as defined by David Holmgren. The hosts (Richard Parker and Richard Pitt) will introduce the topic and help us as a group consider how the principle applies to us here in Southampton.

Manure Day

Pitch fork in compost

Manure is very important for us to keep our soil healthy.

We are very fortunate that our friends at nearby Down to Earth Farm keep a variety of animals and as a consequence have a large pile of manure we can get our hands on. (Well, not our hands, our pitch forks!)

Our good friend Andy the Acorn Tree Specialist is helping us with transport.

So all we need now are lots of good friends to spend the morning with wheel barrows and pitch forks to load and unload.

This is what me mean by Manure Day !

  • [times have changed!!] We will meet on Sat 7 Oct at 2.30pm at Aldermoor Community Farm or 3.00pm at Down to Earth Farm on Green Lane (SO16 9FQ).
  • We will load up using wheelbarrows and pitch forks loaned by Down to Earth.
  • We will return to Aldermoor Farm to unload and distribute the manure to our veggie beds.
  • We will enjoy a hearty cup of tea!
  • If you want to arrive early and have lunch with us, please do – we do lunch at about 12.30

We are hoping for 12 helpers (the dirty dozen??). It would make us less nervous if you could sign up below if you can help.

Thank you.

Easter Monday Picnic and Open Day

We were blessed with a mostly sunny day on Monday 17 April 2017.

Through the gates came 124 people, and we all seemed to have a very happy day on the farm!

Activities included the crafty barn, easter egg trail, fishing game and golf ball runway. We all enjoyed the sunny weather, meeting the animals, the tranquil atmosphere and seeing the blossom and new growth. Many picnic lunches were enjoyed.

Thanks to those who brought cakes to share.

Thank you very much to our team of volunteers – Sophia, Becky, Tracey, Paul, Gill, Zoe, Nathan, Adam, Richard, Mauri, Kathy.

Bio-Cycle

Bio-Cycle is a student-led food waste recycling scheme (see their Facebook page).

In the absence of a council scheme to collect veg peelings and other waste food for compost, students from the University of Southampton devised their own scheme.

In preventing unnecessary food waste from going to landfill, by re-using it locally, they hope to encourage sustainability within Southampton and the strong student community, changing the way people view recycling.

The scheme provides student households with food waste caddies and bin liners for a small fee of £10.

This also registers them with a regular weekly food waste pickup service.

There are 35 student households in the scheme.

Each week volunteers go round on bicycles to collect the liners full of compostable materials.

All collected food waste comes to Aldermoor Community Farm – and it comes by bicycle.

 

We put the liners into our custom-built compost bay, layering the fresh material with wood-chip. It is a great recipe for compost.

Bio-Cycle is one of many projects organised by Southampton Hub, a nation-wide charity whose aim which supports students to tackle social challenges. Find out more here: southamptonhub.org/sustainability