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 Ffarm Moelyci Bulletin March 2016
Y Lle Tyfu / The Growing Space
It feels like Spring is fast approaching in The Growing Space.

In the polytunnels there is fresh young produce being harvested including Salad Leaves, Kale and Parsley, young plants are bulking up for spring sales and seedling galore are emerging in the special propagation area.
 
Outside in the Nursery area, plants are now on display for sale and this range of plants will increase as the season progresses. Come along and see what we have got, especially our expanding herb range.
The main growing area is slowly waking up and drying out. New spring planting is in progress.
 
I'm really excited by the new area of The Growing Space being developed on the other side of the track. It’s a beautiful sunny location and an ongoing project that is being developed by Volunteers.  I am very impressed by what they have achieved.
 
Come along on Thursdays between 10 and 4 meet the other volunteers. There are plenty of things to learn and help out with; weeding, mulching, sowing seeds, pricking out and potting on and lots of work preparing ground and pruning work in the fruit field.  Come and join the gang!
 
If there something you would like us to grow please tell us.  Come and look around the garden, groups are welcome to the expanding Growing Space at Moelyci.
 
Coryn Bye
Allotment Caravan
March on the Allotments
 
Some plotholders are still harvesting leeks, parsnips, chard, perpetual spinach, the last of the brussels and winter caulis, kale and swedes.  Immature spring cabbages planted last August will be waking from a long droopy sleep now and growing into their splendid best during March.  They will also be checking purple sprouting broccoli – some plants will be very early after the relatively mild winter.   Leeks need to be cleared and frozen.  Parsnips too – otherwise they  start growing again.
 
We now have a thriving newt population here but the frogspawn is taking a hit because newts eat it, but hopefully some froglets will survive to eat our slugs.  Many plotholders reported seeing plenty of frogs and toads on the plots last year as well as newts.
 
If you think the winter has been tough for veg growers, spare a thought for the early wakening pollinators as well and plan to help them next year by identifying an  area on your veg plot where you can plant bulbs and perennials that will flower in March next year. Early flowers include:  Perennials;  comfrey, primroses, hellebores, pulmonaria,  thrift, Vinca, winter flowering heather, Bulbs; crocus, winter aconites, daffs, fritillary grape hyacinth muscari, bluebells, snowdrops;  Shrubs;rosemary, mahonia, ribes, brooms.
 
Our early spuds need to be in by mid March, second earlies by late March and maincrops from late March right on through April.  Many of us grow mainly earlies and second earlies because blight is prevalent along this area of North Wales by July and sometimes even earlier.
 
Plant out onion sets and shallots and the very last of garlic but reject any of these bulbs that have started to send out green shoots -they will bolt too soon in warm weather.
Transplant any early veg started off in polytunnel or greenhouse. ie broad beans and peas sown in gutters
Early sowing : In a nursery bed outside  ::   plan to transplant in early May
summer cabbages like Hispi or Greyhound, Brussels, Broccoli, Leeks
In permanent beds outside in a mild spell  :: round  seeded spinach, chard, early beetroot, carrots, parsnips, lettuce -with cloches, spring onions, broad beans,  turnips
 
Think you want to rent an allotment ? Please chat to Jenie or Maria on  the allotment committee on   moelyciallotments@gmail.com
Ecology Group
 
The Ecology group met in February to trial the The Biological Records Centre's online database, iRecord. It was agreed that although it has some shortcomings it is the best of the available options and we agreed to use it for storing the farm’s biological records.
 
A new butterfly has been spotted at Moelyci. Single specimens of the Dark Green Fritillary butterfly were spotted on the farm twice last summer.  Moelyci already supports populations of the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, a smaller fritillary butterfly which tends to stick to areas of suitable habitat containing the caterpillar’s food plant (Marsh Violet and Dog Violet) and which skims the top of vegetation in flight.
 
The larger, Dark Green Fritillary is a stronger, higher flyer and can cover considerable distances. It may have arrived from Clwt y Bont or Abergwyngregyn where there are records of the butterfly’s presence. It’s also possible that the species may have travelled from Newborough Warren where there are strong populations. We should be able to tell this summer whether Moelyci was just a stopping off point en route to somewhere else or whether breeding populations are going to establish on the farm.
Alice Smith - Moelyci Ecology Group
 
Woodlands and Conservation Group
 
The newly formed Woodlands and Conservation group are going from strength to strength.  Having recently completed the laying of the hedge around the market garden they hosted one of our Monthly Tuesday Evening Talks:  Building a WorkBase: Sustainable Construction at National Trust Vaynol Estate. 
 
The illustrated talk and slide show by John Whitley, a Head Ranger for the Vaynol,  covered the story of Timber framed buildings on local national trust properties starting from bird hides and woodland shelters and growing to fully building a regulation compliant, self-sufficient and  architecturally beautiful workbase. These buildings inspired the Ffarm Moelyci birdhide which took an unfortunate battering in the winter storms.
 
If you want to learn about woodland and conservation on a practical level join one of our volunteer sessions on Wednesday and Sundays.  Meet at the barn at 10am.
 
Shop Cafe

The Shop and Cafe seems to get better every time I come to write this.  There are some big changes coming along to the space along with the completion of the building.
 
As you may have noticed we now have a lovely warm wood burner in the shop and the big glass bifold door is finally in.  Not only can you be cosy you can now see all the plants we have on sale.  Yes, I’m sorry, the rustic (but rather airy!) doors are now retired.
 
We are just about to bring onboard an interim assistant for the shop and cafe and then, the big one, we are about to recruit and have an open session for a new manager for the shop.  In the background we have formed a Task-and-Finish group to not only get community soundings but to find out what direction we want to take the shop in.  We will start recruitment very soon and it is our intention that from mid may, the shop is fully open 5 days a week and is expanding its range and influence.
 
Come along and see what we are doing now though.  The addition of Carrie’s Cosyn Cymru cheese has been a real draw for new visitors alongside new savouries on the menu like soup and pasties.
 
Fridays         11:00 to 6:00
Saturdays    9:30 –5:00pm.
 
Dave Ellis
 
Items to Note:
Renewable Energy at Ffarm Moelyci
Summer 2016 should see us install the long awaited biomass boiler to heat the farm buildings next winter; ultimately fuelled by our own firewood harvested from our own woodlands (by our very own woodland and conservation group) Also this summer we hope to undertaking a feasibility study and consultation work about whether the farm can also play host to modest PV and wind power and pioneer the way forward for farms and small communities storing energy. Ffarm Moelyci joins the Cyd Ynni consortium as one of several community groups in the area making their own renewable energy.

Watery News
With the allotments entering a new growing season and with the Growing Space looking to, well, Grow both will need water. Plans have been drawn up to harvest water sustainably and the redistribute it to where it is needed on the farm. On another watery front the farm is looking at how it can best manage flood waters on the farm.

Grazing in 2016
Whilst we wait for a long term farm plan we welcome back the graziers for another season that see’s sheep and horses arrive on the farm once again this spring accompanied by the arrival from the Snowdonia Donkeys. Two areas will get specialist conservation grazing plans for the year ahead and there will be a concerted effort to control bracken and invasive species such as Himalayan Balsam.

 
Dates for your Diary

Ffarm Moelyci pub quiz Tuesday 12th April and every second Tuesday of the month in the Douglas Arms Hotel Bethesda 7.30 for 8 0’Clock start.
 
Panad a Sgwrs  First Saturday of Every Month
Are you a Welsh learner and would like to use your Welsh more often?
Join us in the Ffarm Moelyci Café every first Saturday each month 10:00 – 11:00am for a panad and a chat.
 
Copyright © 2016 Ffarm Moelyci, All rights reserved.


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