Things really start to pick up during the summer months across the Kitchen Gardens. In between planting new seeds, watering baby plants to get them established and harvesting crops, our teams are busy planning ahead to extend the season for our 25 Mile Menu.
Over at THE PIG-in the South Downs, Head Kitchen Gardener Alex gives us the low down on how things are going over in our West Sussex Kitchen Garden this season…
Summer is in full swing! What are the Kitchen Gardens like this time of year at THE PIG-in the South Downs?
The Kitchen Garden is just starting to overflow from beds to the paths. The courgettes are providing daily harvest with their huge leaves working like solar panels taking in a much sun as they can. The climbing beans are almost to the top of the wigwams. Edible flowers are giving us great splashes of colour throughout the garden and our sweetcorn stands 6 to 7 foot tall! Berries are heavily weighing down the fruit bushes, by far the biggest soft fruit yield of my time at THE PIGs. It's safe to say things are busy in the garden!
What have the team been planting this season?
Currently we're sowing carrots, fennel and dill, and planting the three types of beetroot; Detroit, Boldor and Chioggia.
What can we expect to see being pulled from the Kitchen Garden in the coming weeks?
We are deep in harvest season! Our fruitcages have been overflowing with raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, whitecurrants, gooseberries, strawberries Tayberries, peaches and loganberries. From the beds, greenhouses and polytunnels we're gathering agretti, New Zealand spinach caraflex cabbages, tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes, onions, salad onions, dwarf French beans, kale, edible flowers, sprouting broccoli, calabrese, cucumbers, and our pardon peppers have just started too. On top of that all of the herbs are in full swing!
What is the teams focus this over in the Kitchen Gardens at THE PIG-in the South Downs?
This year for us is about perfecting our staple crops with a few new varieties and making sure we can grow the very best produce we can, and picking when it’s all at its best.
Which zero-mile ingredients can we get a taste of at the moment?
THE PIG-in the South Down's standout dishes are all about the pastry section. It all comes at once for Tash, our Pastry Chef, and her team as they go above and beyond to wash and preserve all the fruits, flowers and herbs coming from the Kitchen Garden to use later in the year, as well as serving them up fresh in some awesome desserts. She has even made her own vegan honey from our pot marigolds to go with our greenhouse grown Saturn peaches! If you're swinging by, make sure you try the Fruit Cage Tart with Elderflower Custard (this is all the elderflower from the garden), Lemon Verbena Iced Terrine with Raspberries & Tayberries, Fig Leaf Set Cream or our Caramelised Peaches, Vegan Crème Fraiche and Marigold Honey.