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Tales from the Farm – Spring is here!

The first honey bee of the year spotted out (with his friend) on the blossom.

“TV’s favourite gardener”, Monty Don, inspires Jez Rose, a frustrated behaviourist and amateur gardener, to grow a new life, as detailed in Tales from the Farm. Monty Don’s book inspired Jez to buy a farm in the countryside, create his own garden and write about the joy, obsession and mud.

After a fair number of cloudy days, quite a bit of rain and some really strong winds, it looks like Spring is finally here. And that’s why I haven’t blogged from a few days because the weather at this time of the year really does dictate activity – juggling a busy writing and speaking schedule with the long lists of things to do here at the farm has always been tricky but with the new barn going up quickly, there’s even more to get done so e’re ready for our first training course in May!

I’ve managed to sow parsnips (and didn’t really understand the packet so planted two rows deep and two rows shallow – a mini experiment to see which grow best!), lettuce, peas, the lavender border and also two varieties of gladioli in between each of the trees in the lime tree walk. I really, really enjoy planting in the vegetable garden; there’s a real sense of reward that’s anticipated as you sow the seeds and a tranquility, too: the seeds are so tiny and fiddly that the sowing alone forces you to slow down and take your time!

I noticed today that the garlic is starting to push through the soil but forgot to take a photo – I’ll do that tomorrow for you; the contrast of new life in green against the dark compost is what Spring is all about and a result of some of the warmer and sunnier days we’ve had recently. My success with the garlic is slightly – potentially – tainted by my potato efforts. Watching Kate Humble in the new series, Back to the Land,revealed that I may – or may not – have planted my potatoes upside down… I’m keeping a sharp eye on the soil and hoping for shoots.

Phase 1 of the low woven willow fence

On a more positive and successful note, I started making a small fence today, using branches from the overgrown willow I thinned out a few weeks ago. It’s practical in the sense that it helps to deter the dogs from trampling on the young and fragile jewel garden but it also helps to create a formal divide and looks great – weaving willow in and out of sticks makes an instant fence and in the process you feel a little bit like Bear Grylls. It’s likely to be partly because of all the fresh air – even if you can get just a few minutes a day, you’ll notice the difference in your ability to concentrate and be more alert as a result of getting out. It’s been quite a tree-orientated time recently. After a productive weekend cutting back the conifer trees, which surround two sides of the farm, I planted wild flower seeds in the few feet we gained as a result of the trimming. There’s a small border, only about a foot or so, along the back of the jewel garden and a rounded corner behind the Japanese Cherry Blossom, which I’ve planted wild flowers into.

The main structure of the barn is almost complete and in just a few days will be clad

Although not from our trees, there’s been a LOT of wood delivered into the yard this past week as the barn construction continues with a vengeance.

In just a few days the structure will be complete and the outside clad, with the first phase of the roof completed. It’ll all be ready for our first courses, which start in May! The very first course will be my Speaking and Presenting Masterclass on 3rd May, which is back by popular demand, followed by an information day about The Good Life Project on 23rd May as so many of you have asked about learning more about how our research can be used in your life and at work and spending time on the farm with the chickens, bees and learning more about our organic journey.

I’ll be filming some more videos next week to update you on The Good Life Project and with a few nifty ideas for embracing the benefits of nature in your work place and encouraging you to get down and dirty in your garden to help the bees.

Jez Rose is a behaviourist, broadcaster and Faculty Lead for The Good Life Project; a research project evidencing the impact of nature on health, behaviour and wellbeing. Ambassadors include broadcasters Kate Humble and the Soil Association. For free brain tricks and behaviour fixes, visit:

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