This is the time of year every Gardener gets excited about. We are deep in sowing season and if you wander around our Kitchen Gardens you’ll spot our busy team planting across the beds, polytunnels and greenhouses. Over at THE PIG-near Bath, in one of our biggest Kitchen Gardens, Head Kitchen Gardener Zack gives us the inside scoop on what’s been ‘growing on’ in Somerset this month…
The warmer season has finally arrived! What are the Kitchen Gardens like this time of year at THE PIG-near Bath?
It’s a busy time of the year in the Kitchen Gardens at THE PIGs with a lot of planting going on… Tomatoes and Basil have been planted into the polytunnel, Peppers and Chillies have gone into the greenhouses. Also, the French and Runner Beans are being planted out along with the Peas and Sweetcorn.
What have the team been planting this season?
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been doing a lot of seed sowing to get ready for the growing season! All of the Beans, Cucumbers, Courgettes, Sweetcorn, and Winter Squash have been sown, germinated and are now mostly ready to be planted out.
What can we expect to see being pulled from the Kitchen Garden in the coming weeks?
Over the next month, those cool and warm season leafy greens and veggies we planted in the last couple of months will be ready to be pulled from the garden. You’ll see Kale, Kohl Rabi, New Zealand Spinach, Turnips, Radish, Leeks and Beetroot being harvested.
THE PIG Kitchen Gardeners are always experimenting with new varieties – what have the team over in Somerset been trying their hand at?
This year we are growing Okra, aka Lady’s Finger, for the first time… it has long green edible pods that look similar to a Chilli but without the heat. We’re also growing a new Tomato variety called “Gigantimo” which produces giant Tomatoes!
Which zero-mile ingredients can we get a taste of at the moment?
We try to touch as many dishes and drinks as possible with the Kitchen Garden. Our 25 Mile Menu is true to the micro seasons and can change daily depending on what we harvest from the beds, polytunnels and greenhouses! Recently we’ve been serving Hogget Pie with our own Tokyo cross Turnips and Broccoli Leaves. We’ve also been dishing up fresh Hake with Fennel from the Kitchen Garden, plus our zero-mile Kohl Rabi, Wild Rocket and Nettle soup. Make sure you head to the Bar and try out garden-to-glass Garden Daiquiri made with White Rum, Pineapple Rum, Lime, Rosemary and Thyme from Kitchen Garden.
What are your top 3 tips for Gardeners growing at home this time of year?
- Tomato training - By now, our Tomatoes have been in the polytunnels for a few weeks and growing well, we train them by removing side shoots and growing them on vertical stings so that they don’t become too bushy and unmanageable.
- Chilli and Pepper training – We always remove the first few flowers from our Chilli and Pepper plants, this allows the plant to put its energy into creating a larger framework before focusing of flowers/fruits too early, increasing yields.
- Pinch Broad Bean tops – Our Broad Beans are staring to grow fast and are putting on flowers, we now pinch out the tops which are great in Salads, this also reduces the risk of Black Bean Aphid infestation as they will always begin to attack the soft grown at the top of the plants.