The Bucksum Farm
Bucksum rents 16 acres of the 100-acre Shabbington Field Farm, from this land roughly 4 acres are cropped each year. By using traditional crop rotation, soil fertility and biodiversity is increased, while reducing pest and disease problems.
Sowing green manures, using ‘natural’ local manure (from a neighbouring cattle farmer) and making sure plots are rested, mean that we get the very best from the land, while keeping the soil in good heart for future cropping. These sustainable methods mean there is only a small requirement for fertiliser, such as a little nitrogen to help the seeds get going.
Sowing salad under fleece keeps off pests, while utilising companion plants like catmint wards off flea beetle. These methods help us to grow great tasting produce without spraying anything on your food.
Another method of pest control is to encourage natural predators. For the last two years we’ve had a Little Owl and a Tawny Owl nesting in our special owl boxes. There are also foxes, newts (which eat slug eggs) and frogs. Leaving beetle banks and wildlife corridors encourages biodiversity and increases pollinating insects.
We still need a little help from slug pellets, but choose the expensive option which break down into carbon and water and are not harmful to other wildlife. Biocontrols, (little bugs which eat other bugs such as greenfly) are used in our poly tunnels.
Hidden in a quiet corner of the farm is a ‘BeeKind’ Natural Bee Hive. It’s designed to encourage wild bee populations and not for harvesting honey. The bees choose if they want to live in the hive or not. Unfortunately, the 2017 swarm died out in the late winter ‘Beast from the East’ chill. A new swarm arrived in May 2018.
With the help of AVDC we’ve sown an acre of wildflowers, this is nectar rich when in flower which helps the bees thrive. To keep this area as a wild plot the ‘hay’ must be removed. We’ll then use these bales as windbreaks and to make natural compost bays.
Another important initiative was to plant three plots of Phacelia, each flowering in turn for the bees and other pollinating insects. This will increase soil fertility in an area which will not be harvested again for a few years.
Bucksum’s large reservoir collects rain for watering the crops. It’s also a very popular habitat for local wildlife. Regular visitors are ducks, moorhens and red kites, who like to wade in and sip majestically from the shallows.
© Bucksum Created by D.Bella Creative
Shabbington Field Farm