January is named from the Roman god Janus, who is represented by two faces looking in opposite directions – one as retrospective to the past, the other prospective to the coming year. Prospectively, we learn excitedly that we have funding for 2020 therefore can continue to plan and dig for victory. Retrospectively, we make good the damages of our westerly winds, whipping gales through our greenhouses. Many broken glass panes.
We dodge the wet weather and continue to form new raised beds and divert old paths, improving, creating and enriching raised beds. Seed planting will commence in earnest in February.We continue to tackle years of neglect but truth be known, we’re winning!
So we took time out for a ‘team jolly’ – a freezing cold day on a guided tour to Parke’s walled garden at Bovey Tracey. We were gleaning ideas for fruit growing and species types. The nearby Home Farm Café comes with a recommendation – in fact, Parke is a great trip!
You may think December would be a quiet time in the garden, but in contrast to the sleepiness of most of the plants, the Walled Garden team have been industriously working on improvements for the year ahead.
Under Sarah’s strict supervision – she has an eye for detail! – we’ve been creating raised beds, clearing paths and sorting and spreading the compost.
The broad beans have sprouted and been planted in the new raised beds. Saved seed has been sorted and cleaned and some hardy annuals have been sown for planting and selling next year. The indoor salad harvesting for the Green Table has continued, although the yield is much reduced at this time of year.
And it hasn’t all been work, wind and rain – we’ve had a few lovely days sitting in the sun at break times. And ten of us celebrated the festive season with an excellent Christmas lunch last week.
The weather has definitely changed and the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is upon us, with the volunteers now packing away their shorts for another year; Sarah has even unveiled her bobble hat.
The high winds, which hit us over early November, caused devastation to the greenhouse. Olivier did sterling work collecting the broken glass and making the house safe.
Our compost, which has been decomposing for about 18 months, is now being put to good use as a top dressing and for our new seeds. We’re currently planting rocket, winter purslane and some indoor salad.
Other exciting plantings are garlic (Solent white) – we have done a few extras, which will be available to buy from the Walled Garden for home planting. Also broad beans have gone in, again we have done some extras for home planting. These will be available from mid December and will be harvesting in early summer 2020.
As always we are open on Tuesdays and Thursdays and everyone is welcome to pop in and see us, have a wander round and check out the plants.
To celebrate the achievements at Dartington’s Kitchen Garden we (volunteers) have decided to keep a diary with monthly updates.
After much discussion, it was decided that it would be most accessible as a blog on the Dartington website which we hope you will find interesting – and even useful!
We are very pleased to have reached the end of the second bountiful summer since we started up in 2018. This year we have continued to develop and improve the soil and beds, and are growing an even wider range of seasonal produce for The Green Table and The White Hart.
Many thanks to the generous people whose donations helped make it all possible, and all the people who, under the instruction, guidance and expertise of Sarah Coates, have transformed this…
Other favourites for the restaurants have been rainbow chard, beetroots, purple and green French beans, courgettes, squash, cucumbers and Florence fennel.
Don’t forget to visit us on Tuesdays and Thursdays – even if it’s just to check on the cucamelons or the Bolivian Giants in the glasshouse! For the coming year we will also be trying out new seeds from Garden Organics and the Heritage Seeds Library so there should be lots of interest to come – we’ll keep you posted.