Thursday 21 June 2018

Kitchen Garden Notes – Longshaw in June

We planned a walk around the National Trust's Longshaw estate in the Peak District the other week. When we got down to the café we remembered that at the back was the walled kitchen garden. I think many people go to Longshaw and don't realise it is there. The last time we took a look at it it was December but I had forgotten it was 3½ years ago. How time flies!
One of the main focus areas of any good garden is the greenhouse. It was full with plants, pots, watering cans and potting compost. There was at least ten tomato plants all in their own individual pots and then staked for support. This is the same method that we use at our allotment.
A late crop of beetroot was among the seeds being grown in the greenhouse. It seems all the beetroot we sowed directly into the soil this year have failed to germinate. We have already decided to start them off inside next year.
I love basil but it can be a tricky herb to grow at home as it does like very un-English Mediterranean conditions. Sound advice here to water only when the soil is very dry. This crop is looking extremely healthy for it.
Outside there is another herb patch for all those herbs that can tolerate the harsh conditions that can fall upon this part of the country. Of course the elevated position in full sun helps them thrive.
The soft fruit section was looking very green. With the amount of sunshine there has been in recent weeks it will be ripe in no time.
As well as soft fruit apples have been trained as cordons. One of the varieties is 'James Grieve' an old variety of Cox's Orange Pippin originating in Edinburgh in the late 19th century.
In the potato patch the variety being grown is 'Vivaldi'. This is a relatively new cultivar of potato. It works well both as a boiled potato with its skin on and also for mashing.
The cabbages have been carefully netted to protect against the birds. Pigeons in particular take quite a fancy to this crop. It didn't stop the little mouse I saw running around in there!
It was interesting seeing the difference between a winter and summer kitchen garden. I shouldn't leave it so long before I visit again.

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