Google earth, eat your heart out!
This aerial photo of the farm and garden shows the formal Kitchen Garden to the far west (the ubiquitous mountain bikers can be spotted on the turning circle), ornamental gardens towards the house, and to the south the extensive wildflower meadow.
Trug porn: My supper of asparagus, new potatoes, radishes, broad bean tops and salad, all from our hard-won patch.
...from the bracken!
Though it's taken so-o-o-o much longer than we expected to create, we are dead proud of this new experimental garden made on a shoestring - the Lawson Park Kitchen Garden. Its a southwest facing sloped site, some 50m x80m in size, that's around a quarter of an acre I guess.
The raised timber beds are mostly 4m x 4m (except of the large fruit bed), we would have liked them smaller for access but were stopped by the volume of materials we'd have needed. Paths are a generous 1.5 m wide, meaning great access, and finished in ungraded slate chippings, free locally.
Here's what I'll be trialling in the site this year, so far just celeriac, lettuce, broadbeans and tomatoes are sown in the unheated polytunnel:
Broad bean ‘ Green Windsor’
Dwarf french bean ‘ Purple Queen’
Runner bean ‘Czar’
Shungiku Chop Suey greens
Tomato Adine Cornue (in tunnel)
Parsley ‘Italian Giant’
Beetroot ‘Barabietola di Chioggia’
Leaf beet ‘Oriole’
Chinese cabbage ‘Nikko F1’
Broccoli Purple Sprouting Early
Corn salad ‘Louviers’
Squash ‘Blue Kuri’
Kale Dwarf green Curled
Courgette Partenon F1
Cucumber ‘Marketmore’ (in tunnel)
Lettuce ‘Rubens Red Cos’
Potatoes Red Duke Of York, Premiere, Maris Bard, Epicure and Orla
Gardening as I do in some wet mountains, I was particularly appreciative of Kylemore Abbey in Connemara (Ireland) which I recently visited. Now a school and nun community, the recently restored 6 acre walled kitchen garden is awe-inspiring both in and outside its walls. The scale is vast, built originally by some nuts Victorian gentry who only occasionally visited, and it included dozens of glasshouses for wet weather walking, pineapple beds and lots of now-restored island beds of gaudy bedding. All framed by the most romantically gloomy mountains.
Have a look at www.kylemoreabbey.com/garden.asp for more...
This, dear reader, is destined THIS YEAR to become a new kitchen garden! It's an area around 60m x 40m, gently sloping south west and previously smothered in bracken. Our produce will be grown in raised beds with imported topsoil , and we are optimistically layering cardboard between what remains of the bracken and the topsoil to attempt an organic eradication of the pest....Watch this space for news on whether that works....
Since this photo was taken, the lucky beehives have received their own levelled off area (though their honeycomb shaped shed remains as yet unfinished though tres rustique) and two massive compost bins have been installed. However, a bizarre local famine of the planned larch poles means we will be sadly using more 'finished' planks to make the beds, though this will no doubt give the are a more stylish appearance.
What was it the contractor said when gazing down at it ?
"It's never gonna be Kew Gardens, is it?"
Au contraire, mate!