It’s snow joke

The cold snap hits the Kitchen Garden

Can you believe the weather? Snow in May! Thank goodness Mark hadn’t planted out his seedlings when it fell.

We’ve been harvesting rocket, rainbow chard, sorrel, viola flowers, broad bean tops and the last of the celeriac for the first wedding of the season. It gives us such a buzz to serve our own produce. Mark has been planting seeds on two-week rotations, testing varieties of radish, carrot, and beetroot. Meanwhile, when he nips out the broad bean tops we use them on our dishes. They’re fantastic, and the same will happen when Mark thins out the root veg, providing lovely little shoots for garnish.

In the polytunnel, the courgettes are about three inches tall and bursting green. This time of year is so exciting – the world popping green everywhere, it’s wonderful. We also have a furry friend in the seedling tunnel. Mark found a baby rabbit under the seedling cloche, keeping warm. He went in hot pursuit Mr McGregor-style, and now the footprints of a 6ft 4ins tall man can be seen the length of the raised bed.

We’re in for a broad bean and garlic-tastic year. I fancy broad bean pesto, though the chefs aren’t too keen on all that podding. A chap called Ronnie who works at the Merchant Tavern in town is a friend of our restaurant manager and he’s going to take any spare. He loves Vallum and we love the synergy of working with other enthusiastic people.

The bank of trees which shelter the garden has been cleared of weeds to leave dark earth that makes you want to kneel down and stroke it – it looks so velvety. The hens love it for foraging and they look so important, white against the dark soil, as they watch the installation of our first Cloudhouses yurt. We are so excited about Yurt One, which will be for hire this summer, our guests welcome to collect our eggs and veg for cooking on site.

Our tearoom has had a big refurb too, and after all the hard work we found self-seeded edible flowers in the redundant polytunnel – perfect for the icing on the celebratory cake. Plus, the pea shoots are up, which always feels good. Happy growing!

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