Market Garden Updates
Our New Market Gardener and What’s Going on in the Garden This Winter
It’s been a while since we’ve visited the Market Garden on our organic farm in Devon, so we put on our wellies, wrapped up in our winter coats and headed down to see what’s been going on…
A Change of Hands
The changing of the seasons has also brought with it a change of hands at the Garden. Last month we welcomed new Head Market Gardener, Kelvin, to our wonderful team of gardeners. Kelvin is keen to get the garden in tip top condition and already has big plans for renovating the infrastructure (turning an old farm shed into a brand-new greenhouse), expanding the flower and seed beds and looking towards a successful spring.
Although Kelvin started by studying fine art and illustration and working for a design agency, a trip to Australia saw him develop an interest in farming and gardening. It’s here that he discovered permaculture, a system that works with nature in natural land management methods to help ecosystems flourish. Permaculture uses whole system thinking, utilising principles in fields and gardens such as regenerative agriculture, something we also work hard to build here on our organic farm.
Kelvin brought back with him a knowledge and passion for sustainable growing, which he used to inform and educate children at schools in Sussex. His move to Devon come off the back of wanting to set up his own Market Garden, growing sustainable fruit and vegetables. Now, he’s bringing his expertise to Eversfield Organic, helping us to grow the best possible organic veg. Plus he’s even learning how to grow organic flowers – something very much new to him.
Kelvin and the team’s first challenge is to revamp the Garden ready for real winter to start. A lot of trial and error is underway, working out how to best to grow a variety of seasonal vegetables, including organic mushrooms and microgreens. Microgreens, young green vegetables also known as micro herbs, are a popular choice in our Market Garden as they are rich in flavour with a high nutritional value, plus convenient to grow. They can be grown in various locations, including in our polytunnel where they currently reside. Sounds like a win-win to us.
The team are also working to expand the planting beds in the hopes of growing heritage, unique and interesting organic vegetables. One such vegetable includes koji, a unique and edible fungus that tends to grow on rice. The natural enzymes in a koji vegetable help to bring out both sweet and savoury flavours in food. With this in mind, our team of market gardeners are hoping to produce this organic vegetable with the help of our charcuterie team, to complement our new range of organic charcuterie.
Our market gardeners have begun to clear space in the polytunnel for growing organic flowers, used for both edible and decorative means in the Eversfield Organic Dartmoor Inn. Looking towards the spring, Kelvin enlightens to planting spring bulbs such as tulips, alliums and sweet peas.
It’s Not All Sunshine
Despite working hard to get the Garden in shape, it’s not all been smooth sailing for our team. They found a lack of space available for growing seasonal vegetables for winter. The Garden was largely occupied by growing salad throughout summer and making the seasonal changes has taken longer than intended. Unfortunately, Kelvin thinks this may set the Garden back slightly in coming seasons, hitting the hungry gap especially hard next year. The hungry gap is the worst time of the year for UK farmers, when winter crops come to an end and spring crops are not quite ready.
However, Kelvin and the team have big plans that continue to expand as they work on maintaining the Garden throughout the coming months. Exciting things are happening, so check back soon for more updates from our organic farm Market Garden. Try our Garden’s produce at the Dartmoor Inn, Totnes Café and Marlborough Café, and purchase from our Farm Shops in Tavistock, Totnes and Marlborough. Browse our selection of seasonal, organic fruit and vegetables to add to your next organic food delivery here.