Hi, I’m Rosie!
I’m a second-generation blackcurrant grower from Norfolk who came back to my family’s farm in 2018 after six years in the city, and am about to embark on my second ever harvest. This season, I will be documenting my journey as I establish my Whole Farm Conservation plan, trial new growing techniques and grow the best British blackcurrants I can!
This month is all about planting. Typically, we would plant all of our blackcurrants in the first couple of months of the year, but after an extremely wet winter, most of our planting has had to wait.
The main challenge this presented was how to store the blackcurrant cuttings we had cut in February and ensure they stay fresh for planting in April. One thing I have learnt over time is that much of the growing process requires trial and error. Luckily, we have more than thirty seasoned blackcurrant growers from the Foundation, as well as Ribena’s agronomist, Harriet, to call on for advice. Thankfully, after laying cuttings at the fields’ edge, as well as storing them in sand, peat and refrigerators, we successfully saved our cuttings and are now busy planting them by hand.
With lockdown currently in place here in the UK, we are lucky to only require a small team to help us, all of whom live locally here in Norfolk. We also plant in wide rows, roughly 3 metres apart, meaning we can still plant our crop whilst adhering to government regulations. As planting draws to a close, we will be waiting for the green haze that appears when we see new growth on the blackcurrant plants’ woody frames. My focus for the next couple of weeks will be on finalising our Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship application and building a mosaic of natural habitats for all our birds and pollinators.
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