Meet Kelvin Our Market Gardener
We took a trip to our Market Garden and caught up with our head gardener Kelvin, to get to grips with the ins and outs of organic produce…
Located on the family farm, in the heart of Dartmoor, our Market Garden is a massive part of what makes Eversfield Organic so unique. Teeming with organic produce and wildlife, and a vital contributor to our closed loop sustainability ethos, the Market Garden is kept in ship shape by Kelvin our Head Market Gardener.
Kelvin has been instrumental in making our Market Garden the success it is today, taking it from what was just a small patch of land to a bountiful paradise of organic produce and biodiversity. Coming from a background of systematic design Kelvin has shaped the garden to maximise space whilst also working with the nature we share our land with.
Working with nature
When I asked Kelvin what was most appealing about his job, being able to work in the outdoors was a given. Surrounded by the beautiful countryside and rugged tors of Dartmoor, no other work environment can really compete. Growing produce organically honours the countryside and environment we are lucky enough to be part of, and this is another aspect of the job Kelvin is passionate about:
“Working with nature, not against it, and recognising we are part of a bigger system is key to organic farming, helping to combat the detrimental environmental impact intensive farming has.”
Regarding this awareness and incorporation of nature, Kelvin discusses how he is mindful of the Principles of Permaculture when gardening. Permaculture is the practice of creating sustainable ways of living by developing ecologically harmonious, efficient, and productive systems, encouraging resourcefulness and resilience towards the natural environment.
These principles encompass the organic values we hold at Eversfield Organic, including producing little to no waste, utilising and valuing biodiversity, using small and slow solutions, and adapting to environmental change.
Kelvin’s Organic Methods
Kelvin uses a multitude of methods to keep the Market Garden’s yield high whilst maintaining the sustainable, environmental values it was built on. The garden is no-dig, using compost produced via waste from our farm shops and restaurants, instead of digging into and turning the soil so as not to disrupt its natural structure and ecosystems.
No-dig gardens have been observed to produce higher yields, stronger seedlings and even reduce the number of weeds in the garden, no nasty artificial herbicides or fertilisers necessary.
Interplanting is another method in Kelvins repertoire which helps the Market Garden work with nature. By having 2-3 different varieties of plants in the same bed not only can you utilise more space in the garden, but also promote biodiversity, attract pollinators, and even deter pests from parts of the garden. Kelvin speaks of how he often plants the same crop in different parts of the garden, as if pests do get to one of the beds there’s a high likelihood the others will be untouched.
Kelvin’s Organic September Highlights
Kelvin is most proud of the purple sprouting broccoli, winter cabbages, aubergines, and tomatoes flourishing in the Market Garden this month, so look out for these in our farm shops. This is particularly good news as, with the turbulent and fluctuating weather we’ve been having, from heatwaves to downpours, growing hasn’t been the easiest for some farms and gardens across the UK.
According to Kelvin, the key to keeping these yields high in the face of adverse weather is healthy soil. Our organic soil system can lock in moisture, so even in the height of the heat the garden only required its usual amount of watering.
Another success we’ve had recently at the Market Garden is our output of salad which is averaging around 30 - 50 kg a week to be sold in our farm shops, used in our restaurants and cafes and, as of recently, sold online too!
If you’re lucky enough to live near one of our farm shops at Tavistock, Totnes or Marlborough or our Dartmoor Inn at Merrivale, visit us to try out some of the Market Garden's delicious produce, or, if you live further afield, find a selection of herbs and veg online.