Tamarisk Farm Blog

A why, wherefore, and howto of an Organic family farm on the Jurassic Coast

A series of newsletters, recipes, and other such things

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Bridport Times – A Stake in the Future (December 2018)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

Every year we renovate and mend fences and, from time to time, we need new ones. December can be a good time for doing this as we are no longer busy with other things. The cattle and sheep are fairly stable: in most years the cows are still outdoors, feeding their calves and pregnant again, and the ewes are happily weaned of their lambs and enjoying the attentions of the rams, about two thirds of them pregnant by the start of the month. The wheat and rye is well-established in the arable fields. The winter vegetables have started cropping and the overwintering ones are established, ready to stand the winter. All is well, and we have time to think about the maintenance of the farm before we bring the stock indoors and find ourselves into proper winter routine. Continue reading “Bridport Times – A Stake in the Future (December 2018)”
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Putting the garden to bed (Bridport Times, November 2018)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

I often get asked by people what on earth I grow over the winter. There is a pretty strong misconception that not much can manage over winter, and although it’s true that there is less variety of things that grow, and that what is in the ground really slows down, there is still a lot that’s harvestable and a lot to do in the garden regardless!

Continue reading “Putting the garden to bed (Bridport Times, November 2018)”

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Hardy Country (Bridport Times, October 2018)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

When we took on the conservation grazing land at Cogden in 1995 we changed our herd of mixed  cattle with its wonderful array of colours and shapes to mahogany coloured, deep bodied pedigree Red Ruby Devons. These  hardy animals (also called North Devons) are particularly known for living outside all year round on the wild coast and moors of North Devon and Somerset, but have been local to this part of Dorset too. Continue reading “Hardy Country (Bridport Times, October 2018)”

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Homespun (Bridport Times, September 2018)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

We do complicate our lives by having a lot of different breeds of sheep. Each is a different colour, has specific needs and their own rams. And they have very different personalities.

We did not select them all for good hard-headed business reasons.We chose the Herwicks (our most recent breed) in a reminiscent mood: we lived in Cumbria early in our married life where we saw and loved them when walking and climbing in the fells. Continue reading “Homespun (Bridport Times, September 2018)”

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A Necessary Obsession (Bridport Times, August 2018)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

The weather is a British obsession. “Oh isn’t this rain terrible?” “It’s so cold!” “Could you believe the wind this morning? Blew my washing all over the garden”… But even more than that, it is a farmer’s obsession.

For winter crops we want late summer rain to allow early cultivation after harvest, and dry to kill the weeds before we sow seeds; we don’t want saturated or cold soil over the winter but we do want some sharp cold to kill some of the bugs. We want a warm moist early season to get a good leafy growth on the wheat then Continue reading “A Necessary Obsession (Bridport Times, August 2018)”

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While the Sun Shines (Bridport Times, July 2018)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

Our stock live on the grass which grows here. In the winter, there is not enough fresh grass to keep them comfortable and growing. We need to save the riches of the summer to fill the space in the winter larder. The way we save it is to sun-dry grass: we make hay.

In my memory, hay making is a time of sunshine, of sticky warmth, hard work, well-earned aching muscles, and hay fragments down my bra. Now it is different but it has the same quality of urgency and vitality and is an iconic part of the farm’s summer. Continue reading “While the Sun Shines (Bridport Times, July 2018)”

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