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, May 16, 2020

May Frost

We always look at the local weather forecast on line each day to see whether we will have rain or sun or not. Especially so this last week or so when temperatures are going quite low at night.

There have been 10 nights in the last 28 days when temperatures in the walled garden were below 4 degrees in fact the last 6 nights were all below 3 degrees and 2 were minus.

Despite going out each night and covering up everything we thought need it, with fleece we still have casualities.

The list is endless, each time I walk around the garden I see another casualty:

Buddleja, Fig, Hydrangea, Hibiscus, hardy geranium,Japanese anemone, Cotinus Grace, bay, Yew, Magnolia leaves….. All these are well established plants but they have put on new growth a bit too early.

Even the potatoes which were earthed up managed to peep through overnight and the tips were frosted. And the cucumbers planted in the unheated greenhouse, saw one succumb but we managed to rescue others by wrapping in fleece inside the greenhouse.

Hopefully that is the last of the frost and most will recover. The problem was the last few weeks have been much too warm so the plants put on lots of new tender growth which has succumbed to the frost.

Spetchley Red vine with wonderful autumn colours frosted on 12th May 2020

Sunday, May 10, 2020

May ups and downs

What a conflicting month of weather, the coldest night so far was 2.7 degrees and the warmest night was 11.3. Daytime temperatures have been no more consistent as the coldest was 10.3 and warmest 23.8, and these just in the last 10 days. Little wonder that the plants do not know whether to grow or not.

The couple of frosty nights saw us going out at dusk to protect vulnerable plants with fleece, will have to do that again in the next few days as temperatures at night are forecast to be 0-3 degrees. Even in the greenhouse the cucumbers suffered in the cold.

The brassica cage is finished now and we have already started to plant the brussels, petit posi, an open floret variety we grew for the first time last year, much sweeter than the traditional sprout.

Brassica cage in its new place

Despite the ups and downs of the weather, May gives a glimpse of what is to come and a tantalising preview.

The first roses are out, iris are budding with a couple now in flower and the greenhouse is full of seedlings waiting to get outside. The asparagus is growing madly, I picked 1.5 kilos this morning!

What’s this? a white flower on the budleija? The iris has grown through the bottom of the budleija and is putting on a great show.

white iris pushing through the budleija

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

May

We had a bit of rain last week which was most welcome and the garden greened up nicely, the soil is now more crumbly so is easier to weed and plant. The big cracks in the soil have closed a bit but much more rain needed for them to close completely.

More perennials are coming up and flowers opening. The camassia planted in the “wild” area at the end of the lawn are bulking up nicely after the original bulbs were planted 5 years ago now. I first saw these on a visit to Highgrove were HRH has them in the grass alongside a path.

Camassia

The lilac is out nicely now, pity it only lasts a couple of weeks before turning brown, never looking so good for our open gardens in June.

You may have guessed, most of the colours in my garden are pinks/purple/blue or white, with the early yellows(daffodils etc.) and an occasional splash of red or orange in the summer

This Pelargonium Tomentosum is in flower now. Kept in the greenhouse over winter it looks great now in a pot against a sunny wall. The flowers are tiny, very delicate but the leaves have a wonderful peppermint scent.

Pelargonium tomentosum

Spent most of today moving the brassica cage. It has to be dismantelled and put back in a new space, posts to bang in the ground, tubes to attach and the netting to tie on.

The reason we move it each year is to prevent the build up of pests and disease which occurs if the same crop is grown in the same position each year.

The cage works so is worth the effort as it prevents any of the cabbage whites from laying eggs with the resultant caterpillars on the cabbages, sprouts, cauliflower and kale.

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...