Lotmead farm owner hopes his strawberries escape cold spring nights
5:30am Monday 21st April 2014 in By Mike Benke, @Michael_Benke
FINGERS are being crossed that a spring frost stays away for the rest of the month so crops will be ready for picking on time at Lotmead Farm.
As things stand, the pick-your-own farm is due to open to the public in around six weeks time with a wide range of fruit and vegetables likely to be available.
However, a late sting in the tail from cold nights could change that but hopes are high for a bumper year.
Norman Parry , owner of the farm in Wanborough Road, on the outskirts of Swindon, said: “As it stands everything is on track and I would hope to open at either the end of May or start of June.
“What we don’t want to see at this stage is a late frost, especially when the strawberries start flowering. Believe it or not, on Friday night it got down to minus four.
“It isn’t an issue now but it might be over the next 10 days, although we would be able to protect some of the strawberries.”
While the wet winter weather has wreaked havoc across much of the South West, fruit growers say the weather has not had that much of an effect on the growing season in the area.
“I think most are agreed the season is about where you would expect it to be in a normal year,” said Norman. “It has been a mild winter so normally you would expect the season to come a bit earlier. I think though because the ground has been so wet it has stayed cold so the crops haven’t really felt it.
“Either way, whatever comes we are prepared for it and looking forward to a really good season.”
Norman believes this year will be a very good year for those who want to head out into the fresh air during the summer months.
He said: “This year we have grown raspberries which in the past we have not been able to because of the clay loam (soil) but we have changed the technique so hopefully they will be fine.
”We will have all sorts of berries such as currants and gooseberries. We will also have most types of vegetables, from broad beans to onions.”
As ever, the central event of the Lotmead calendar will be the Strawberries and Steam event which is being held on the weekend of June 28/29. It offers people the chance to take a look at steam tractors and vintage farm machinery before heading out to the fields.
For up-to-date information on when the farm will be opening visit www.lotmead.co.uk, go to www.facebook.com/lotmeadfarm, or call 01793 790137.
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