Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Harlow Kitchen Garden

My visit yesterday to RHS Harlow Carr was really good. There was lots going on around the 58 acres with old beds being cleared and new ones appearing. A dug bed for Rhubarb has appeared behind the Rose revolutions border. We wandered from the Rhubarb to the Kitchen Garden..

I spent a while yesterday in the Kitchen garden at Harlow Carr.I was not Vegetable or Soft fruit minded last time. Now with my grow bags, african bag gardens, and allotments I have an interest in what they were doing. The number of Raised beds is incredible. The photos show a section of the Kitchen garden. There were lots of sweet peas planted around the beds, new willow structures, and fruit trees grown as pergola supports between some adjacent beds. I want to go back to see how these are used. Vegetable plants and soft fruit canes were planted, as were seeds. I liked being nosy and reading the labels. We wandered up to the greenhouse behind the kitchen garden to see what was growing inside it (it said staff only but we pressed our faces against the greenhouse to see inside. Hundreds of plants in trays and pots).
They were trialing a no dig way of making beds called Sheet Mulching. Sheets of newspapers had covered the top soil and weeds.They had added manure then a layer of straw and then some netting. This had been overwintered. The composted soil was raised and warm ready to take plants without the need for digging. We saw cauliflower plants in little plastic collars..

The castle at the back of the photo had a moat filled with Strawberry plants. A trio of Mints were planted in pots sunk into the ground to avoid its insidious spread.
The raised beds here look like a Middle ages knot garden. The shape of the beds making a pleasing snow flake pattern..

Here the Beds are joined by some living pergola structure. Pea plants were growing around the base of the woody stems. They were all covered in buds, and looked like a Blueberry bush. The structure will be like a covered tunnel between the beds, protection from the elements and support for the climbing plants.

Some Greenbeans in flower.These looked Orchid like in their structure and colour.I saw lots of use of planting flowers around the beds to aid pollination.An original design of the humble kitchen garden mixing flowers and vegetables, the Potager.

Along side the Kitchen Garden was a long line of Mallus, Apple tree's glowing in the sunlight.This was the Edible part of Harlow Carr.The Flowers are to follow this post.

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