Winter garden


It’s cold and it’s wet but there’s still a lot to do in the Kitchen Garden at Vallum

After a mainly dry summer, the rain has arrived just as we start getting into the hard work of moving our growing inside and tidying the outside beds ahead of next spring.

All of the beds have to be stripped and turned over and you can’t stop just because it’s dark and cold. We’ve already started clearing some of the raised beds and we’ll start turning those over once the frost has got into them.

The guys from St Mary’s Inn in Stannington were here recently to lend a hand and learn a bit more about where the food they’re working with comes from. The team spent a day here and did some hard graft. It was great to see young chefs getting their hands dirty.

As I write, we’re still picking salads; it feels like we’ve been picking more salad than anything else this year and having such a wide mix of produce has proven really popular with the chefs.

We’re also working hard with our forcing. We’re in the middle of moving all of it inside, including the beetroot leaf, peas and broad beans shoots and we’ll continue with it throughout the winter. There’s also a good supply of parsnips, carrots and beetroots clamped in sand and ready to go back out when we need them.

We’ve also got tunnels filled with a mix of edible flowers, which are still really popular, and there’s some smaller kales in there, alongside red and white onions, radishes, and the ornamental cabbages, from which we’ll pick individual leaves throughout the winter.

It’s also time to start planning for next year. We’ll have a look at what’s gone well this year and what the chefs are looking for, and plan around that. We’re happy to hear from guys looking for something new to the North East or the UK.

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