Smallholding – growing plus plus!

Le Vivray aerial view 2011

Le Vivray – aerial view 2011

Le Vivray is a very rural smallholding of 8.5 acres, with a cider apple orchard for our cider-making adventures, a walled garden (22m x 22m), a spring with a lavoir (wash pond), and a stream running through the wood at the field bottom.

The lavoir area is fenced off, providing a kind of oasis in the middle of an otherwise rather exposed field, with a young arboretum we planted 5 years ago, of oak, elm, alder, beech, and mixed hedging, around the holding pond of ~100 000L. The restored lavoir building houses our off-grid power station, and the oasis (known affectionately as Telly Tubby Land) is also where you will see our 2 x 3kW wind turbines.


You can find more about what we’ve learnt and grown so far on our website, including cider making, sheep-shearing and hi-tech pedal car-making, but the growing starts here, with our first plants of the year arriving for pampering tomorrow!


We would like to be more self-sufficient in veg in 2013. We were a bit light last year, despite moderately successful multiple sowings last year, and dabbling with mixed “patches” of sowing. The mixed sowing won over the rows by the way. But yields weren’t that great towards the back end of a very soggy season that was peppered with slug rave parties and blight. Although we did still manage to feed the bees…



And we’ll shortly add a long overdue post about making beetroot wine, yes that is beetroot wine. Gamely transcending its garish fuchsia tones, and begging to come across as a well-rounded fruity number, not earthy at all, so that finally we don’t feel too badly about sharing the recipe with other beetroot fans out there!

beetroot wine