It’s been all hands to the deck at our new production site, Forge Farm, and the team in Shropshire have been busily preparing for the spring and summer months.
Wildflower Turf Ltd took occupancy of Forge Farm in October 2021, with the daunting challenge of reinventing the former dairy farm and transforming it into a new home for our Wildflower Turf® and Meadowscape Pro™ products.
We spent the tail end of last year altering the Yard area and rehoming a good deal of cattle manure! The cattle rails in the sheds were all cut down and we moved and installed concrete panels to make bays for our various different soil ingredients. We also set up a workshop filled with new equipment – December really did feel like Christmas every day with constant deliveries of workshop items arriving!
The start of the New Year saw ongoing maintenance around the yard, with the installation of new water pipes, and the cleaning and repairing of gutters. We were also ready to take receipt of additional new materials and so further areas in the yard needed to be cleared and cleaned. By February the yard was really starting to take shape!
The last month has seen us spend less time devoted to this area, but with many plans in place to ensure that this area of Forge Farm reaches the very high standard we aspire to. Many of these additional improvements will be made during the winter months as turf bed preparation has now reached a frenzied pace and is in full swing in between spring showers.
We have also managed to clear and make space for the various materials needed to produce Meadowscape Pro™, and we were thrilled to commence production of our new Peat-Free Meadowscape Pro™ at Forge Farm on the 23rd of March.
Turning our attention to the field, the first phase was to mark out our new turf bed areas. We then added trenching and installed the main irrigation ring pipe while fighting the bitterly cold winds that came our way. Finding ourselves fully windswept, we then installed the necessary electrical cabling and the irrigation solenoid valves. Our efforts will yield us a further 180 beds equating to around 60,000 m2 of turf area for 2022. And this is only Phase 1 of our expansion plans!
After a short break for the festive season, and with the main irrigation now installed, we then concentrated on prepping the beds on dry days. The team has also installed ridges that run along the beds to help to catch and drain rainwater.
We’ve recently installed the irrigation surface pipes which took some time as a result of the length of the pipes and the distance they were required to cover. The beds have been levelled off and cleared of the previous crops and weeds have been attended to. We began laying turf in the first week of April and we’re very much looking forward to the day when our first turf shipment rolls out from Forge Farm. Watch this space!
And if the yard and the field haven’t kept us busy enough, we’ve also made a number of changes to the two properties that sit on Forge Farm.
Oakley Lodge is a beautiful, recently built home that has been transformed into a holiday let and is available to rent via Airbnb. The property has needed re-painting in its entirety as well as requiring furnishing and this task has fallen to Melissa, the wife of our Forge Farm Manager, Evan. As well as painting and co-ordinating the almost daily deliveries of furniture and goods, Melissa has also finalised the window furnishings and other final decorating touches and Oakley Lodge is looking amazing! (Fancy a trip to see us? You can view the property and admire Melissa’s handiwork HERE.)
The ageing Farmhouse on site has also required a good deal of work. Maintenance on the property had been lacking for some time prior to our acquisition of Forge Farm, and so we enlisted the expertise of a local builder. Structural work has been undertaken and windows have been replaced. As is often the way, the more problems we repair, the more problems we unearth! Rotting floors and support beams have been removed and replaced and fresh from the Oakley Lodge renovations, Melissa has provided the interior of the Farmhouse with some T&C. The enormous task of re carpeting and painting the five-bedroom house is almost complete, with Evan, Melissa and their family moving into the Farmhouse last month.
It’s been a very busy but rewarding time at Forge Farm, and we look forward to providing you with further updates as we continue to transform our new production site.