Summer sun

It’s been a funny old summer… hot then wet, then I lit the fire one day because it was so cold in the house. 

The garden has gone berserk too. It must have been perfect conditions for butterflies – and caterpillars – as I’ve seen quite an array of stripey creepy crawlers. The nasturtium I planted to attract pests has also been well and truly hammered. I guess that companion planting theory worked!

I do love the shape of the nasturtium flowers, and I have used at least some of the leaves in salads, and to present the roast meats on feasting boards.

Jonny, our head chef for wedding and event catering at Vallum Marquee & Tipi, has completed a permaculture course and has long wanted to start a garden based on the system. When you watch people on TV who started with a scrap of land and now have berries growing below trees – replicating nature by using layers of planting and growing to create a hands-off environment – it is so inspiring. I do have a patch of waste land, I wonder if I should build a garage or start a little permaculture garden?

We have a big wedding for 180 guests coming up and I have just been to harvest the rainbow chard before sitting down to write. Next is roasting carrots and beets to go with feta, dill, orange and pumpkin seeds in a delicious salad. I do hope there will be some left.

Make the most of the last weeks of summer and the first days of autumn – there are still so many great flavours to enjoy out there.


Vicky Moffitt, of Vallum Farm on Hadrian’s Wall, shares the trials and tribulations of the Kitchen Garden which supplies produce to the farm’s weddings and events marquee, and Restaurant Pine. Vallum, Military Road, Newcastle, NE18 0LL, tel 01434 672 652,

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