Monday, 28 January 2013

21st January 2013-another entry from our volunteer blogger Sandra

Today I spoke to Sarah who is the gardener here at Ford Park. Sarah was recruited as part of the planning involved in the lottery grant that was given to help restore the walled Victorian Kitchen garden and also covers the Orchard as well. Sarah has been working hard on the garden with the help of the volunteers since the 1st August 2012 and the kitchen garden was launched on 9th September 2012, together they have already made a huge difference to the site. Part of the plans for the garden include growing fruit and vegetables to supply the Coach House Café and possibly in the future be able to provide fruit & vegetables for sale to the public.

As well as the garden there is a greenhouse, garden room and cold frames as well as a demonstration courtyard. This area will be used to demonstrate how you can grow & propagate plants in containers. Very useful if you have a small plot or no garden at all, just a small area or courtyard will be enough for you to plant some colourful containers with either flowers or vegetables. Sarah is also planning in February to hold Winter Pruning Workshops for members of the public and the volunteers. More info can be found on the website:

Over the last few months Sarah has been growing some of the more unusual , hardy members of the cabbage family such as Pak Choi and Tat Soi which stand up very well to our winter weather conditions. For next winter she plans to plant Brussel Sprouts, Kale and winter Cabbage. Ruby Chard & Rainbow Lights are being grown for the salad leaves and then will be grown on to be cropped as a vegetable.
Rufino the chef at the Coach House Cafe has advised on certain varieties of plants that would be good for use in the cafe. Lots of salad is used at present. Beans, peas, asparagus and beetroot will be cropped later in the year. There is also a separate bed for all the herbs grown.

The garden demonstrates two different growing styles one being the formal conventional style where the vegetables are all grown in straight lines which means they are easy to weed. The other way being informal where plants and vegetables are planted together to form swathes and drifts of colour & foliage. These plants and vegetables will be chosen to work well together attracting various useful insects to aid pollination as well as looking beautiful. Some edible flowers will also be grown such as Nasturtiums, Violets, Primroses and Marigolds. The taller plants will be grown to give protection for the lower growing ones.
Also around the edge of the garden are some Victorian Metal Stanchions which when wired up will be planted with Apple trees which will look superb when full of fruit. There are more fruit trees in the orchard and plans to have espaliered apple trees and cordon apple trees against the south facing walls.
I suspect the garden will begin to look very different over the coming months and I hope to show all the different stages with photographs taken over a period of time. The photos below show the main garden with Metal Victorian Stanchions, the seed beds and the Demonstration Courtyard.