Riverford

riverford

Jonathon Smales - Lyburn Farm

Jonathon Smales

“I’ve been farming organically for the last seven years,” says Jonathon. “It’s good land here for organics: we’re surrounded by woodland and don’t have any neighbours flinging chemicals around over the hedges.”

Jonathon has about 90 acres of organic land, and grows a whole host of vegetables organically including rhubarb, broad beans, runner beans, courgettes, sweet corn, squash and pumpkins.

“But we keep it small scale,” he says. “We don’t want to get too commercial. We don’t want to be trying to keep too many balls in the air.”

With good soils and excellent light levels the Smale family farm in the New Forest is a great spot for growing. Jonathon uses grass and clover leys as part of a crop rotation to help build fertility, and fleece and plastic coating to keep down pests.

“Our main problem is deer – there are hundreds and they will eat anything given half a chance. The runner beans and rhubarb can need a lot of irrigation as well when the weather is hot.”

“But every year is different. The weather is always changing, the only thing that stays the same is that there's always a new challenge with organics!”