Home Farm, Highgrove Gloucestershire

Since the mid-1980s, the vegetables at Home Farm in Gloucestershire have been grown organically. David, the farm manager, now oversees clover-rich fields, polytunnels and orchards. The approach taken here is not only entirely free from the pesticides associated with conventional farming but the compost needn’t be enhanced with animal manure either. Instead, woodchip produced from trees on the Highgrove estate are sorted into piles as compost sorted by date. They are turned regularly with mould on the inside and worms helping out to break it all down. This means that 1-2 year old compost is fine to the touch, nutrient rich and ready to fuel the growing.

So, what are some of the secrets to the spectacular variety of veg grown here?  “Provide her with cover, or nature will cover herself - clover is planted in the beds beneath many of our vegetables." says the lead grower. Clover is fundamental to organic production because as well as providing good ground cover and grazing, it has the ability to fix nitrogen from the air into the soil. This is then released when the clover is dug in or ploughed. “Avoid compressing the soil with mechanical equipment. Whereas conventional farming can result in up to 90% of soil being driven over, we ensure when we’re using mechanical equipment to always drive down the same narrow paths. This enables the soil everywhere else to flourish naturally.”

Produce from Home Farm, Highgrove

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