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.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Honeysuckle

 Honeysuckle, a useful plant to climb up a trellis, shed or wall.

The first honeysuckle I had in this garden was an unknown evergreen variety, given to me as a cutting by a friend. Leaving it in a jar of water for a while and it started to grow roots. Then grew in a pot until big enough to plant outside. A robust plant and easy to propagate I now have 3 plants in the garden. You need to keep cutting them back if you want to contain the plant to a particular space but to have green all winter and the fragrance all summer long is exquisite.


As I said it is a robust plant, a few years ago we had very strong winds and the honeysuckle, which was growing up a wall and over the arch of a gateway, came off the wall.

What to do? I chopped the whole structure down to about 60 cm from the ground. It grew quickly that summer and over the next few years I have kept cutting it down a bit each year gradually building up a strong base. It is now back to as it was, covering the wall and the arch over the gate. Hopefully it will not fall again.

My second honeysuckle was also an unknown variety, deciduous and found as a seedling growing in the garden. It must have grown from a seed, probably deposited by a bird, next door have the same one growing up the wall so that is probably the parent plant. It has taken several years to settle down but this year it has grown really well and looks wonderful.

Finally a more unusual variety this is called Jazz, originally came from a garden magazine offer.
This is deciduous and has the most unusual flower formation.


As the flowers die you get the seeds forming but as with the flower, it is encased in a cup like circular leaf.







Monday, June 6, 2022

Free Fertilizer

 We garden organically and try to find everything we need from the crops we grow.

Comfrey is a wonderful plant. The plant grows to  1m  high and the lovely flowers are usually covered in bees.

It is a perennial and dies down completely in the winter, giving space to clear any weeds that may have been hiding under the foliage.

The best thing about comfrey is that you can easily make a wonderful liquid fertilizer not just for tomatoes but anything else you grow. It is high in potassium and so is brilliant for any thing that fruits or flowers.

The traditional way to make this liquid is to chop up the leaves, stalks etc. into a bucket, push down to get as much as you can in the bucket then cover with water. Place a heavy weight on top to keep the leaves underwater and put it aside somewhere for several weeks until you have a nice dark liquid. One problem with this wet method, it stinks!

I no longer do this but still get litres of the fertilizer by using the dry method.



I made this system from an old pallet, old wide drain pipes, a plant trough, brackets and a plastic tap.

We have 5 tubes as we have a large garden but the same method could be used with a single pipe for smaller gardens.

The chopped up plant materials, stalks, leaves and flowers are pushed down the tubes and then left. After a week or so the tubes will look almost empty so keep topping them up with more comfrey plant. You can cut the plant to the ground several times during the season and if you have several plants there will always be some for the bees.

After about 6 weeks I am now collecting the liquid, 2x 2 litre bottles filled today. No smells!


Then dilute to a weak tea colour and feed the plants

Just continue to add more plant material throughout the growing season and you will get plenty of the fertilizer.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Colour in the garden

 We have just put the roof on our fruit cage, it took the two of us 2 and a half hours! It is a large cage but protects all our currants, raspberries, blue and black berries, peaches and kiwi from being eaten by the birds. Climbing ladders and walking on the top of walls, I am probably getting too old for this!

The garden is changing daily and more flowers coming out. The peonies are in bloom and looking great.



The first sweet pea is in flower, seeds sown in January and grown in the greenhouse ready to plant out at the end of April.
Roses coming out now too. This is Johanne Elise and will be covered in buds and flowers all summer.
I also have several climbing roses, which cover walls and arches all summer. 


As for the edibles we now have almost daily asparagus, lettuce, the first broad beans, coriander and strawberries for breakfast!



Thursday, May 19, 2022

Moving On

 It only takes a bit of rain , well 22mm already this month, a few warm days and everything in the garden is getting greener and bigger.

The angelica is doing well this year, tall, full of flowers and buzzing with bees. A pity we are not opening the garden for the NGS until July this year. (usually first weekend in June) The flowers will be seed heads in a few more weeks and then need dead heading before all the seeds spread and become an angelica forest next year!

It is also asparagus time and we are picking between 1 and 2 kilos each day. We eat some ourselves, delicious fried or roasted in a little olive oil or chopped up into stir fries.
The remainder we put on our sales trolley which gives local people the chance to buy our organic produce a very reasonable prices and no air miles!
The money raised from the sale of the fruit and vegetables and plants we donate to various charities each year.
We only pick the asparagus for approximately six weeks and then leave the stems to grow and put back goodness into the plants ready for next year. So this special crop is appreciated in this short availability window.



Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Good News

 Good news, I can continue with this blog.

The site may look a little different but here at Tysoe Walled Kitchen Garden we will continue as before.

A healthy drop of rain today 4.32mm, more than the whole month of April.

The garden is looking greener already.

Seeds are beginning to sprout and there are even the first flowers on tomato Roma.

A sign of good things to come.

Hope you will continue to read these blogs and enjoy our garden.



Friday, April 29, 2022

April

 April showers? none this year!

We have a weather station in the garden and keep a record of the readings.

In April 2020 we had 25.82mm in April 2021 there was 13.2mm and in April 2022 had just 3.56mm of rain.

The clay soil has huge cracks in it and is like concrete to dig!

First asparagus has been picked and as delicious as ever, despite the lack of rain.

Despite the cold (0 degrees at night) there are things growing in the garden. Apple blossom is beautiful, did you know 29th April is orchard blossom day?

We also have seedlings coming on in the greenhouse and luffa may be a success this year. After trying to grow this for the past 2 years , there are fruits growing already.

Sweet peas are outside, the seeds planted in the greenhouse in January and planted outside in the beginning of April, they are growing well.

After 14 years developing this garden it is a lovely place to be in and we can pick food for tea everyday.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Prolong the attraction

 Nearly the end of February and time to start a bit of tidying and pruning in the garden. I keep most of the seed heads over winter as they provide architectural interest during the winter months and also food and shelter for wildlife.

We have to start clearing some of it away now as new growth is appearing and this may be damaged if we cut back the old too late.

One thing we have done is to cut back the old flower stalks of the globe artichokes. We grew these perennial plants from seeds many years ago and they not only provide a tasty harvest, but by August we start to leave some of the globes to flower, a beautiful blue.

These seed heads are then left to mature, provide seeds for the birds and other wildlife over winter before being cut down in February. The old foliage has been cleared and new growth appears from December.

Some of the seed heads are still intact so this year I put them on the “metal leaves” art installation to create this:

Honeysuckle

 Honeysuckle, a useful plant to climb up a trellis, shed or wall. The first honeysuckle I had in this garden was an unknown evergreen variet...