Gardens:
The Kitchen Garden

Location:

Productive Gardens

Descriptive Summary:

This is a southwest facing area (80m x 40m) site redeveloped from a bracken-covered slope in 2006/7 and separated from the main gardens by a bridleway. The area is cultivated organically and dedicated to providing produce for the house, including vegetables, cut flowers, fruit and honey, and to composting as much site waste as possible.

The Garden has a utilitarian style, with generously proportioned gravel paths and beds allowing for easy maintenance. Produce is grown in nine untreated timber raised beds, each measuring around 3m x 4m, on top of locally sourced gravel, which in turn is laid over membrane which suppresses bracken regrowth. 1.5m wide paths run in a grid formation throughout the site, which also houses sheds, two cold frames, and a duck area (sadly now empty). Beds are generally block-planted, with heavy mulching retaining a very high level of soil health.

In 2015 the first timber beds (from 2005/6) were replaced with higher, smaller raised beds.

A large fruit bed with a bird-proof fruit cage contains raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, red and white currants, red and green gooseberries, a loganberry and a tayberry. Other permanently planted beds on this site include rhubarb, comfrey and culinary herbs. Some space is devoted to nursery areas for young plants and propagation. Cloches and fleece are used to extend the growing season for salads and green vegetables.

A large polytunnel (40 sq m) overwinters young plants, protects winter vegetables and grows tomatoes, courgettes, exotic herbs and cucumbers over summer.
The entire perimeter of this area was planted in 2006/7 with mixed hedging of mainly native species with a focus on fruit, nuts and hips, mingled with old and species roses.


A selection of plants:

Maker/s:

Karen Guthrie, Adam Sutherland, David Coxon, George Watson

About the designers/maker/s:

Karen Guthrie (Artist & film-maker) and Adam Sutherland (GA's director) have lived and gardened on site since 2001.

Date:

2006

Origin:

This site was identified in 2005 as the most likely site for a much-needed Kitchen Garden, being relatively sheltered and sunny. The lack of topsoil, bracken, and drainage problems pointed towards raised beds as the best and lowest-maintenance solution, though initial costs for timber and topsoil were high.

Raison d'etre:

The production of organic food on this challenging site is intended to act as a demonstration and exploration of what can be achieved, as well as contributing to an environmentally sustainable way of life on site. The Kitchen Garden aims to provide varied fresh produce for the household all summer as well as food to store for use over winter. The site is also a small test bed for agricultural projects such as trialling cold-tolerant varieties and experiments in growing Asian vegetables, some of which were used for a local Japanese cafe as part of the project, Return of the 7 Samurai. A few of the beds also provide flowers for cutting for the house.

Adaptions / renovations

Honesty stall selling excess produce, summer 2007 removed early 2011.
Poultry area developed in 2008/9 but successively attacked by vermin - badgers, foxes and stoats.
Asparagus bed removed in 2011 :-( as was abject failure.
First timber beds replaced in 2015.

  • Early summer glory
  • July produce
  • Artist Pablo Bronstein's shed facade
  • Bespoke signage by designer Supermundane
  • The Site of the Kitchen Garden, spring 2006
  • Block planted flowers and veg, summer 2007