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A Week on the Estate: Walled Gardening, Last Plashing & Bird Plotting

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Spring is upon us, if you ignore the odd dreich day of wind and rain. The birds are in full song, ploughing is underway and we’re looking forward to a year of rejuvenation across South Ormsby Estate.

It’s time to start again in the Walled Garden. The vegetable patch’s growing year is about done, with just a few leeks and sprouts to harvest. We’re preparing for the new season by potting up some early potatoes in the poly-tunnel, preparing the seedbed and planting a grapevine.

Traditional hedge-layer Matthew Davey finished off the plashing season with a small hedgerow at Beechleaves. When the new tenants move in, they’ll benefit from a beautifully crafted and biodiverse boundary giving them open views of the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Saturday Club

To carry our vision of a sustainable and dynamic rural economy into the future, we’re planning to actively recruit more young people this year via the graduate scheme, the Saturday Club and the Kickstart programme. As Graduate Placement Officer, Clarice Weston is both job coach and mentor for all our young workers. Clarice brings organisational skills from a working life in secretarial and PA roles, as well as a flair for leadership and problem-solving from her time as a leader and chairman in the Scout Movement. You can find Clarice’s plans for a busy year of mentoring on our ‘journal’ page.

Out on the land, Ken and Tom from A.W. Smith made a start on ploughing ahead of drilling our spring-sown cereals and winter bird plots, making the most of the fantastic farmyard manure applied by John Benge.

bird plot for biodiversity

As stewards of the countryside, we’re planting areas of land for the specific benefit of farmland birds and various pollinators. The winter bird plot will be planted with a diverse seed mix that includes spring triticale (60%), spring barley (10%), linseed (5%), millet (5%), quinoa (2%), mustard (2%), kale  (4%) and sunflower (4%). The variety of seeds, from oil-rich to brassica and cereal, should suit every avian palate from finches to gamebirds and ensure a food supply into late winter.

Species known to benefit from this approach include the tree sparrow, linnet, yellowhammer and reed bunting. Not only do the flowering crops support a range of pollinating insects, but they also encourage egg-laying, creating another food source for birds. Surviving hoverfly larvae are partial to aphids, giving us organic pest control.

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