Â Hi Everyone,
The Summer of 2008 will be remembered fondly by those who prefer to carry an umbrella and wear woolly jumpers! Â On the back of the previous years poor weather we have been speculating on whether our lavender will evolve into a wetland species! Â Of course the benefit of the Surrey Downs is that the chalky soil carries the water away and the plants feel that they are in the ideal growing conditions. Â It is only the human caretakers that are bothered by the unseasonal weather.Â We would welcome a bit more sunshine though as this increases the yield of oil from the flower heads.
This year we had plenty of challenges. Â Through our constant patrolling we managed to keep on top of the Rosemary Beetles so that overall they had very little impact on our crop â€“ a big thank you to all our junior beetle bottlers who helped out. Â It meant that we did not have to resort to using the Soil Association approved spray to control them. Â However we will need to start checking the plants again in late March and April as this seems to be when the beetles are most prevalent.
The very hard late frost on the 17th May damaged our field substantially. Â Â In about 45% of the field the newly emerged flowers were killed which forced the plant to regenerate more shoots that flowered later â€“ albeit not as intensely â€“ which prolonged the season into August. Â So it was, in some ways, not such a bad thing and it adds to the ever growing list of things we have learned about farming over the past few years.Â If it happens again next year we will hold off booking the one way tickets for Australia that we were thinking about!!
Our product range continues to develop and we are always looking for new ideas. Â We have put together some lovely gift combinations and hampers for the gift giving season and we are anticipate that plenty of city professionals will need our organically grown lavender to assist in a good nights sleep!!. Â Our plan is to open daily from 10th November through to the 23rd December. Â Of course we are a bit dependent on the weather as usual but since we have invested in a new shelter on the field we hope it will be as good in the cold as it was in the rain this summer.
Â We look forward to welcoming you onto our field again soon.
Lorna and Brendan Maye
We have beenÂ on high alert this year as we have noticed a clear increase in the number of Rosemary Beetle present on our Lavender.Â Â This seems to have arrived in the country from South America or Southern Europe (some debate on this point) in the past 6 years and is quietly eating Rosemary and Lavender in gardens throughout the south of England. It is not so easy to spot on the Rosemary plants as it is suitably camouflaged but on the Lavender it is very easy to spot. It tends to rise to the top of the lavender plant and can be picked off by hand very easily. Fortunately it doesn’t sting or bite and is slow moving. We hate to advise that the only solution is to kill the Beetle as it has the capacity to lay scores of eggs that will hatch into little light grey slugs with dark stripes. The adult is similar in size and shape to the ladybird but is a shiny metallic green colour with red stripes.
Beetle Busters Campaign
We have been encouraging junior beetle hunters (with senior supervision of course) to catch the critters in jam jars that we provide. We have seen how the kids love the game of mini beast hunting and thought it would be a good way to dovetail the need to catch as many of these beetles as possible while at the same time teaching the children a bit about the local ecology. So if you have some time to bring your friends family or just yourself – why not have a picnic on the field and make a day trip out of it – at least its good exercise in the fresh air. We will be open daily from 10am throughout the season. Please drive into the field and collect a jam jar from the shelter by the gate to collect these pests.