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A Week on the Estate: Farmhouse Finished, Napkins Folded & Garden Harvested

Temperatures tumbled this week, but a dreich weekend was followed by some beautiful, blue-sky days which showcased the estate’s autumnal hues very nicely.

We had a busy few days preparing Keal Farmhouse for its new tenant. Huge thanks go out to the skilled local tradesmen who made this possible, including Askew’s Carpets of Spilsby, local painter and decorator Rob Maddison and joiner Phil Codd.

Local Tradesperson helping with the Keal Farmhouse

Last weekend, the Saturday Club enjoyed a crash course in silver-service hospitality. Jacqui Rhodes talked about her 25 years as Housekeeper at South Ormsby Hall. She recounted some of the grand parties she’d helped to organise and taught the team how to fold napkins for polite company. The kids tried a lily and, as it was Halloween, a bat. Not to be left out, Hall cat Marmite got paws-on to make sure the logs were stacked just right.

Charlotte Waite, one of our graduate trainees, has been keeping tabs on our kitchen garden. Charlotte, 22, is a Lincolnshire native with a 1st-class degree in International Events Management from the University of Surrey. Her work as a graduate trainee at South Ormsby Estate makes an interesting change from her undergraduate placement at Mercedes-Benz UK. She’s currently working in estate management, focussing on issues like ditching and hedging. Prior to that, she worked with Kevin the Groundskeeper on establishing a wormery, designing a composting system, increasing the Lincolnshire Buff flock and creating a pasture-based egg system.

 

A member of the Saturday Club folding a napkin

As 2020 draws to a close, Charlotte reflected on the success of the kitchen garden.  Thanks to the green fingers and hard work of Kevin and Colin, who oversaw the sowing, growing and harvesting of a variety of produce, the garden has thrived throughout the year. The polytunnel provided an excellent microclimate for a range of produce including cucumbers, melons, peppers and strawberries. We were even able to harvest an early crop of potatoes and carrots due to the additional insulation and protection from adverse weather that the polytunnel provides.

In the main vegetable patch, we’ve grown a mixture of root vegetables, perennials and seasonal produce. Jacqui Rhodes made all kinds of sweet treats using apples and pears from our bountiful fruit trees. We also have a beautiful cut-flower garden which attracts an abundance of bees and other pollinators as well as providing excellent flower displays for the Hall.

 

The kitchen garden

We made the environmentally conscious decision not to use pesticides and artificial fertilisers on the garden. Instead, we use natural alternatives such as compost and manure which help to enrich and sustain high-quality soil. This approach not only gives us peace of mind – we know exactly what has gone into our food – but also increases the nutritional value of our produce, helping to protect our health and wellbeing. It also helps us avoid damage to the ecosystem, which is great news for our local flora and fauna.