Gravetye Garden Blog
For all those eager to read more regular updates from the garden, then we have good news. Our head gardener Tom and his team are delighted to launch the Gravetye Garden Blog. Packed full of pictures and information on their work at Gravetye - look out for Tom’s plant of the week, as well as posts from exciting contributors.
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Kiwi fruit is probably one of the more unusual fruit we grow at Gravetye and people are often quite surprised to see them in our kitchen garden. They are certainly on the edge of their northerly limit here, but with the shelter of a south facing wall our vines do really well.
They are perfectly hardy in our winters; the problem is ripening the fruit in our short summers. By autumn our vines were laden with fruit, which looked delicious but were unfortunately still hard. The answer to this problem was for us to leave the fruit on the vine until after the first hard frosts. The fruit were then kept in our kitchens store, until ripe and soft. To accelerate the process I kept a few fruit wrapped in a plastic bag and had my first kiwi of the season today. It was pretty good. It certainly couldn’t compare to the experience of the first mid summer strawberry, warm in the sun. But to enjoy a juice fresh kiwi from the garden in the depth of winter is still quite special and the fruit certainly looked beautiful when they were on the vine.
As well as kiwis, some of our more conventional crops are also at the peak of their season. The leeks that we sowed back in June are now looking magnificent. We usually sow them in plug trays and grow them on in the cold frame before planting them out. Most of our leeks are harvested at the baby stage throughout the summer and for this we use a variety called Zermatt. This one develops very quickly and can produce perfect baby leaks within 7 weeks. For the leeks which we grow to full size, we harvest now and use the variety Northern Lights. As the temperatures drop, this variety begins to over winter and its leaves take on a purple sheen, transforming the humble leek into one of the most handsome plants in the garden.
You can read Tom's latest article in Country Life 'Why I'm wild about heather' on our Press Page.
Monday 24th March 2014 - Garden Tour with Head Gardener Tom Coward followed by lunch
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