A natural life
This month: Jez Rose
Jez Rose, behaviourist, broadcaster and amateur gardener, and his wife Caroline, moved onto their small farm on the Cambridgeshire/ Lincolnshire border in 2016. “We keep half a million bees, two labradors, and are home to The Good Life Project. The project explores nature’s impact on people’s mental functioning, social relationships and physical wellbeing, and encourages greater interaction with nature. We’re licensed by the Soil Association as an organic site in conversion.
“The garden area was largely bare grass and concrete when we moved in. Slowly we created jungle, veg and rose gardens, an orchard, wild meadow, jewel garden, herb garden and a magnolia courtyard. We added a greenhouse, a pizza oven, and a new training and research barn with a green roof. We have planted forage for our bees and, like many smallholders, we’re working towards self-sufficiency. Our next project is a wild heather border for pest control and pollination... and eye candy. We’re planning
on organic chickens for eggs and the long-term plan is to rescue reindeer in our woodland.
“As we keep bees we have to always be mindful of mice although if you keep chickens or have compost they’ll be on your mind too! We raise things up using drainpipe sections approx 8ins as mice can’t climb them; this has been especially effective for our bee hives. We’ve been looking for an effective irrigation system for ages; we have a bore hole, butts, six hoses and two rubbish irrigation systems.
“I grew up on a farm so smallholding for me feels real and innate, and in less than a year of being back on a farm I have almost no unstained clothes left. Shortly after we moved in, excited about our farm life, Caroline and I renamed the place Money Pit Farm. It’s been the worst thing I’ve ever done in my life, repairing the neglect (a new septic tank because the old one discharged directly into a fresh water dyke, a Site of Significant Scientific Interest; repair a leaking bore hole; four days after we moved in the roof collapsed; the oil tank had to be moved), and also the most rewarding. It has proven just how important a greater connection to nature really is.”
* Do check out The Good Life Project and follow Jez @JezRosehttp://thegoodlifeproject.info/ * Jez’s courses are also featured on page 59. * Compiled by Debbie Kingsley who tweets from @SouthYeoFarm and set up @SmallholdersUK
Jez Rose, who runs The Good Life Project