Walmer Castle Kitchen Garden: From Plot to Plate

Spring is my favourite time of year. I just love all the blossom. I love all the spring bulbs that come through. People have been growing produce here at Walmer Castle for about 300 years. The visitors here really love
the connection between the kitchen garden and the tea rooms. We grow produce all year round, from winter vegetables through to salads in the summer. All are harvested and taken to the tea rooms where they are made into delicious dishes for our visitors. The kitchen garden itself is divided into four sections. The design is very formal, very geometric. We need the paths to be able to harvest and look after the produce on a daily basis. We have a team of seven gardeners here, one apprentice and a very dedicated group of volunteers who help us keep the gardens at a very high standard. Down in the kitchen garden, when you pick anything it’s got such an earthy smell to it. Every week I see something new in the ground. I have an allotment myself so every time I come here and I see that they’re well ahead of my planting it gets me going and enthuses me. At the moment we’re sowing lots of types of vegetables. Lots of different types of beans. Once the seedlings appear and the plants are strong enough we’ll move them to the cold frames. They’ll be ready for planting after about two or three weeks. We grow all sorts of winter veg. Celeriac, potatoes, calabrese. And, in the summer we’re growing tomatoes, cucumbers, lots of different types of lettuces. We’ve got a variety of textures and colours, so you can have a red iceberg and bright green jabeque. And for that to be presented on a plate in the kitchen for our visitors is really lovely. One of my favourite vegetables this time of year is asparagus. The kitchen absolutely love it and they make the most delicious quiches. I think it’s very important that our produce does go to the kitchen. I come here on a Sunday and have a Sunday lunch. I can spot all the vegetable that we picked during the week. Rhubarb scones are very nice and it’s one way of using our copious, amazing rhubarb. The kitchen garden is a really inspiring place. We have the most amazing castle as a backdrop, and the sea over the road. It makes you feel very proud to be able to work
in a place like this.

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