Tysoe Walled Kitchen Garden

Welcome to the Tysoe Walled Kitchen Garden website! We are committed to organic gardening. Using the best practices from the Victorian days (i.e. lots of horse manure) and knowledge gleaned from the Ryton Organic Gardens we have set out to tame our Warwickshire clay. It’s all about sustainability, so as well as organic gardening, we’re always looking to better ways to work with our environment.

On this site you can find out about our history and the projects we are working on. You can come visit the garden and learn about organic gardening. Follow our blog to see what’s on our mind in the garden this month.

For the first 8 years all the work was carried out by just the two of us. Now we have help and are passing on our knowledge to students on the WRAGS (Work and Retrain As a Gardener Scheme).

We also find time to be involved with the WOT2Grow Community Orchard in Tysoe and have planted a 3 acre wood close to Tysoe, just over the border in Oxfordshire with a grant from the Woodland Trust.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

March 2024

 In February we had about  80 mm rain (compared with only 10 mm in February 2023).

This March about 50mm rain (roughly the same as in 2023).

But the ground is so wet, occasionally a dry day so we can just manage to give the grass its first high cut, before the rain come again.

This wet clay soil is very hard to weed without removing great clods of soil with the weed and getting gloved fingers clogged with wet clay. So the weeds are flourishing!

The soil is too cold and wet to plant out new but established plants are doing well.

The herbaceous perennials are appearing though the soil and everything is greening up, a sure sign of spring.


Anemone blanda in the "wild " area of the lawn is lovely with various shades of blue from almost white to deep blue. These are now joined by the cow slips, Snakes head fritillary and green stalks of the Camissia, which will come into flower later in May.

Other splashes of colour are appearing daily




Narcissus bulbocodium  "Arctic Bells"

                            Daphne mezereum rubra, the flowers come first then, the foliage
                                            Hellebore are still going strong, this lovely white one.
                                                    Trillium kurabayashii, a weird and wonderful plant
...and we are still harvesting the wonderful purple sprouting broccoli.


Wednesday, February 21, 2024

February 2024

 What a wet and soggy month.

Very few days have been dry enough to do any work on the soil, but we have managed to prune all the fruit trees, apples and pears and the soft fruit, currants, gooseberries, autumn raspberries and blueberries.

We are harvesting leeks, carrots and parsnips from the garden. A lovely crop of sweet rocket growing in the greenhouse, free from the flea beetle that fills it full of holes on that grown outside in the summer!

There is no chard this year as it rotted in the cold and then the wet, but we have had some kale and yesterday the first of the purple sprouting broccoli. A delicious crop but takes all year to grow, we are now sowing seed for next  years harvest!

The spring bulbs are looking good. The snowdrops are starting to go over but they have been followed by the daffodils, tete a tete being the first to show. The berm is looking good with the spring bulbs and hellebores which are still flowering.



Then the rain!. in 2023 we had quite a dry February with 9.65mm rainfall recorded in our garden. This year we have already had over 58mm rain and still a week to go. There have been too many days where the temperatures have been over 10 degrees, 14 days in the last 21days have all reached these temperatures. Too hot for February and the plants and birds think it is Spring already.

The path between cold frames and raised bed became a stream last week!



Tuesday, January 16, 2024

January

Welcome 2024. After quite a mild but wet Christmas it has now turned more seasonably cold, very cold today, 0 degrees this morning but has crept up to 3.5 now at 3pm.

So wet in December, we had 60.09mm of rain in December 2023, in 2022 just 24.11mm and in 2021 16.51mm. There was even more in December 2020 with 60.69mm.

Remember the very cold winter of 2022? We lost most of our Aeoniums, as did many other people, despite being in a bubble wrapped greenhouse where they had happily spent many previous winters.

This year I have brought the remaining ones inside, so all the window sills are full!



Aeoniums overwintering inside the house

We have also taken precautions outside and used fleece and covers to protect some of the plants, that suffered in the cold last year but manage to perk up during the year. Hopefully this will be sufficient to save them this winter.

Globe artichoke

Ceanothus

It may be cold outside but cheering colour sign is here already! The snowdrops are bright white in the grey days.

                                                                    Mrs McNamara

                                                            Bright pink Cyclamen coum

Saturday, December 16, 2023

December

 Is it really nearly Christmas?

Unpredictable weather over the last few months has led to strange things in the garden.

The hostas had started to grow again, apple blossom on the trees and clematis flowering again in late October. The weather was so warm for October and so wet, 74mm rain measured in October.

The trees did  start to produce their autumn colours by the end of the month, especially beautiful was the Spetchley Red vine I have been training over the patio.



November still had unseasonably warm weather but by the 24th the temperatures suddenly dropped to sub-zero at night.

We picked the kiwis and squash before these frosts turned them to mush so had a good crop.




Rain in November was just 40mm although it seemed like it would never stop.

Now by mid December the leaves have finally dropped and we have collected them up to rot down into a wonderful leaf mulch for next year. The weather is still variable up to 12 degrees some days but the majority of nights are minus and still plenty of rain (20mm by the 15th December)

Mistletoe is good this year so we have supplied the local flower shop and sold steadily from our trolley to raise funds for charities. Using some of it, along with holly, ivy and berries from the garden for our Christmas wreath.

Have a Happy Christmas and I will write again in January.


Sunday, September 24, 2023

compost suprise

I am sure many of you who make your own compost have experienced this.

The lovely compost that you have been making over the past year is then spread over the flower borders, greatly improving the soil and health of your plants.

Then as the summer progresses you find a plant that you did not sow in that border but you do recognise it.

A tomato plant. So instead of weeding it out,  you leave it there, no training or pinching out, just let it do its thing.

Then August and September come round and you have tomatoes ripening in the sun!

We have some of these growing in the potato patch and we have had a wonderful crop, plus more still ripening.



The strange thing is that, because of all the rain and damp weather we had in July and August, the potatoes have all suffered from blight, except the Sarpo blight resistant ones.

We have had to remove all the tops from the potatoes to save the crop. But the tomatoes, in the same family as potatoes are unaffected! Explain that.

Friday, September 1, 2023

climbing courgette

 For several years we have been trying to grow the climbing courgette variety Black Forest.

Each year it has failed to grow more than about 50cm.

This year we found another climbing variety Shooting Star. Success!

It has grown well and we have tied it to a support so it goes quite high.


The fruit from the "Shooting Star" are lovely thin and bright yellow. Also very delicious.

A definite must for next years planting.

Keeping on the yellow theme we have also had success with melons in the greenhouse. This variety called Emir are quite a small fruit just enough for 2 and are ripening and tasting great, really juicy.


Once again we entered several things into our local flower and produce show and won 2 firsts, 2 seconds and 2 thirds.

        The Firsts were for a brace of courgettes and my bowl of fruit. A successful year.




Sunday, August 6, 2023

Still catching up

 I did not realise it is over 2 months since my last post and I am still playing catch up with weeds and grass edges and all the other jobs in the garden.

We have been harvesting well and now the gooseberries, black and white and early red currants are over. The autumn raspberries are just beginning, replacing the summer ones which are now over.

This means it is time to cut out the fruited canes of the summer raspberries and tie in the new growth which will provide next years fruit. The same needs to be done with the logan and tayberries.

In the green house the aubergines are coming on well, not the normal rounded type but a variety called long purple.

The tomatoes are also ripening. We have not bothered with outdoor tomatoes this year, as long as the weather is warm and dry they are great but with all this damp weather they are likely to get blight and the whole crop will be lost.
The cucumbers were doing well but have now succumbed to the red spider mite, We will use nematodes next year to try and prevent this.
Beetroot, lettuce and beans: broad, french and runners are all doing well and the courgettes are growing by the minute. We like to pick them at about 15cm so a daily check is required to prevent ending up as marrows!
Peas have been and gone but were delicious freshly picked.
Now is the time to summer prune the trained apples and plums and pears so that will keep me busy for several days over the next couple of weeks. Pruning the new growth back hard at this time of year encourages more fruit buds and stops the trees growing out of their spaces.


March 2024

 In February we had about  80 mm rain (compared with only 10 mm in February 2023). This March about 50mm rain (roughly the same as in 2023)....