As we reach the half way point in February (Valentines day to all romantics!) our winter fruit work at Peaks Top Farm is all but complete. Fortunately this winter we have experienced some cold weather and frosts in this part of North East Lincolnshire. Low and sub zero temperatures benefit our fruit plants by increasing dormancy and then promoting vigour in the spring and summer growing periods. It also has the benefit of reducing weed and pest problems by killing some off in the cold weather.
One less favourable side to the weather up to this point is the amount of rain we have had and how wet the land is currently. Our strawberry beds are saturated along with much of the rest of the farm. We hope for high pressure and some settled dry weather which we often get in February and March which will allow our machinery onto the land to start spring work.
The pruning of all our bush and cane fruit is nearly complete. Annual pruning clears all the previous years ‘deadwood’ out and selects the best new growth to train for this years fruit. 2 more days should finish the remaining brambles, then all the gooseberries, currants and brambles are tidy and ready for 2018.
Our vibrant strawberry plants which we grow on a table-top growing system are wrapped in a fleece material to protect them from the worst of the winter weather. The fleece will also help with increasing the temperature in the grow bags on warmer, sunnier days as we move into spring.
In our polytunnels we are having a review of cropping. 2 tunnels have been cleared to move to a pot growing system for raspberries. This will allow us to improve factors such as drainage, nutrient inputs and weeds within the raspberries. Another tunnel will be allocated for undercover strawberries.
We are confident that with this work and continued maintenance 2018 will be another successful fruit growing year at Peaks Top Farm!