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.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Annual climbers

Over the winter we put in a new patio area and had a wonderful blacksmith make an arbour over it.

More space for growing plants over!!

I thought I would grow some annual climbers so bought some seeds earlier in the year.

At last the plants are blooming, but not all are successfully climbing up the poles.

Cobaea scandens Alba

I planted Cobaea scandens both Alba and Purple. The cup and saucer plant. They have tendrils rather than twisting themselves around the pole so have to be tied in regularly. I was hoping that the plants would climb up the poles and across the top of the arbour, unfortunately they have only grown to about a metre high.

Another climber I tried was Rhodochiton atrosanguineus Purple Bells.

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Rhodochiton atrosanguineus Purple Bells

The seeds of this plant are so tiny that they arrive in a little plastic tube in the seed packet. I failed to get them to germinate so bought a couple of plants from a local nursery. They too have to be tied constantly to the poles.

Thunbergia alata African Sunset was another climber I grew from seed, a lovely flower but does want to crawl along the ground rather than up the poles, so needs lots of encouragement.

Thunbergia alata African Sunset

The final seeds I grew this year was something I have grown before and the most successful. Mina lobata or Spanish Flag. This does grow up the pole (a bit like runner beans) with only a bit of tying in at the start to encourage it up the pole.

Mina lobata

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Achocha

Never heard of this? a lovely annual climber with tiny flowers loved by bees and hover flies followed by unusual edible fruits, great in salads or stir fries.

Grows outside so no need for a greenhouse or conservatory to get these fruits.

We got the first seeds from Garden Organic Heritage Seed Library. The seeds are strange looking, flat and a bit like broken “shreddies”.

A tender annual which seem to germinate quite quickly so we sow them in modules in April and can be planted out when all chance of frost is gone. By the end of July and into August, September and until first frost, the fruits are appearing. Best eaten small in salads (2-3 cms) but if they get missed (they are the same colour as the foliage ) and grow larger then they can be used by removing seeds and using in stir fries, curries etc. Do not let them get more than about 5 cms . Remove the seeds before cooking if they do get too big as they will have set seed and then the plant stops producing more fruit.

Cyclanthera pedata

The first achocha we grew was Cyclanthera pedata – ladies slipper and each year save some seed so have never been without them for several years now.

Cyclanthera pedata

Last year we got the seeds of Cylanthera brachystachya – fat baby from the heritage seed library. They produce the cute looking fruits and do have different foliage to ladies slipper.

Cyclanthera brachystachya
Fat baby fruits

Keep picking and you could get a wonderful yield, last year we had 870 fruits from about 10 plants, grown quite close together up pigeon netting attached between two posts of the pergola. Makes a lovely screen with the advantage of attracting pollinating insects and you get the fruit. Will survive outside until the first frosts so make sure you keep a couple of large fruits for next years seeds.

I have read somewhere that the fruit is very good for reducing cholesterol but do not know if this has been scientifically tested!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Onions

We grow quite a lot of onions, shallots and garlic and they do taste nicer than shop bought ones!

Planted in October they are ready to harvest early summer. Garlic and elephant garlic in June followed by the onions and shallots in July. A few summer sown onions will be ready to harvest in late August/September.

After last years disaster with the onion harvest, too hot and a shortage of water to keep watering, it has been good this year. We grew onion Champion, shallot Longor and shallot Giselle. There are also red onion called Electric, not quite ready yet.

When the top growth starts to flop over the onions are ready to loosen in the soil, carefully push a fork under each bulb at lift up but leave them sitting half in the soil for a few more days. Then take them out of the soil and either leave on the top to dry out in the sun or if weather is very wet, we place on greenhouse floor to dry. They are ready to store when the stalk and outer scales of the onion rub off easily. Once cleaned up the onions are stored in the shed

Champion
Shallot Giselle
Shallot Longor

Shallot Giselle were quite small and since the Longor were much bigger ( 7 cms) we decided to pickle the small ones. A good tip I found was to pour boiling water on the shallots, leave 20-30 seconds remove the water and then pour cold water on them. This loosens the skins and makes them easy to peel.

peeled shallots
Pickled now leave for at least 6 weeks

Busy time

It has been a busy few weeks, trying to get on top of the weeding, a little rain and everything you want and do not want grows like mad.

Bindweed is the worst in the borders, gets up all the stems and you have to be careful taking them off some of the more tender plants.

It is also harvest time. Soft fruit has been coming for a while but now as the strawberries come to an end we have red currants, black currants, white currants, summer raspberries, blackberries and blueberries and 2 early but very large figs.

All these berries and currants are wonderful for breakfast on cereal or porridge. We freeze them in small, 2 portion , re-useable bags and put them in the freezer for breakfasts throughout the year. A few bigger bags of currants are frozen, for jelly or jam later in the year and crumbles or pies can be made by using a few of the “breakfast bags”.

White currants

This variety of white currant is called Blanca the bush was grown from a cutting several years ago and is now producing very large pea sized currants.

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...