For the early part of June we’ve been busy nurturing Calendula seedlings and planting Lavender (Grosso and Angustifolia) in our new herbal meadow beds.
Late 2018 and early 2019 we rotovated, mulched and prepared five 40m beds to grow herbs; Lavender, Calendula, Chamomile, Rosemary, Echinacea, Mallow, Hearsease and Melissa. This was in addition to our estasblished herb beds.
This April, I tackled the first bed and sowed all the Calendula seeds that we had carefully saved from our best plants last year. It was a cool drizzly day, with a waxing moon in Libra at the end of the second moon quarter – getting close to the full moon. So, with the addition of unseasonally warm weather, this seemed to me the ideal time to get the seeds going.
True to form, against all expectations and despite checking on them, talking to them, loving them and watering them - for 4 weeks absolutely nothing happened. Whilst the odd calendula plant was popping up on other established sites around the farm and we were now getting a plentiful crop of bright orange Calendula flowers in our greenhouse, there was virtually no seedlings erupting in the meadow beds. All we had on our new bed was 40 metres of very healthy weeds.
However, after six weeks, more tiny seedlings started to appear amongst the weeds, but were still in very patchy in locations. The issue was, I didn’t want to weed around the seedlings too early as I was worried I would damage them, yet the weeds were starting to take over everything.
In the first week of June I decided I had to bite the bullet and make a start. I allocated a morning for weeding and it took 2 full days of back-breaking work. The soil was dry at this time and, as the beds are newly formed, the soil still needs more attention – but – we now have a fantastic bed of Calendula popping up.
Currently, we’re visiting family and researching herbs and products in Hong Kong and NZ for 2 weeks. I can't wait to get back to see how they are doing under the experience and care of our fantastic gardeners Nick and Karen.
Talking of experience, I am very excited as next month Julia, an extremely knowledgeable biodynamic and organic gardener is joining us to help with the farm, growing, harvesting and formulations. I look forward to her sharing her expertise with us.
Next month, we also have our second Demeter farm inspection… fingers crossed. In the July update we'll let you know how this goes and we’ll focus on our lavender and the new distiller (for essential oils) we are currently purchasing.
I’ve only been away from the farm a week and I am missing it so much!!