The Margan Garden - Spring Crops

Spring is upon us and with that comes changes in the Margan garden which reacquaint our senses of seasons gone by. Whether they be the spontaneous efforts of hardy seeds sprouting into action after lying dormant, or the ambrosial scents of spring flowers drifting through the breeze. It all serves to mark a new chapter in the growing year.

Fortunately, in comparison to the winter of 2022 when we witnessed a 100-year flood besiege Broke and the grounds of our vineyard and garden, this year’s colder months were far calmer in nature. As a result, we are not having to spend as much time rebuilding lost and nutrient-leached soil, repairing damaged fences, or battling with mildew caused by increased and prolonged wetness and humidity. The challenge for spring and the warmer months will instead be the inverse. With such a dry winter and little rain on the horizon, keeping plants well hydrated and comfortable will be the name of the game. Nevertheless, the transition between winter and spring is always a busy yet fun spell. Crops which have become a staple in the kitchen for several months have to be ruthlessly yanked out of the ground (much to Chef’s dismay) and thrown to the compost to make way for their warmer weather counterparts. Garden beds must be prepared, and finally, our home-grown seedlings must be hand planted when a suitably cool run of mornings surface. This, along with other tasks such as wood chipping pathways and fixing irrigation makes for a labour intensive six weeks. That said, the transformation is always a satisfying sight to behold.

During this transitional period, we rely on our perennial favourites to supplement a reduced yield coming out of the garden due to the winter veggies reaching their end. Our asparagus bed has sprung back into action with its usual zeal. Any remaining Jerusalem artichoke has been dug up and replanted, but our bed of globe artichoke has quite suddenly produced its array of regal looking heads. To further mitigate the decrease in yields, we have allowed certain crops to maintain half a bed if they are still healthy. The other half of the bed is utilised for summer seedlings to begin their next stage of growth. This also allows for a succession planting of the summer crops, whereby seedlings are planted out in staggered timing, which results in a more consistent supply of produce throughout the summer.

So, what veggies will you be seeing transformed into delicious culinary creations this summer by our masterful kitchen team? We have, of course, the staples – crops we know work great in both our soil and kitchen. These include cherry tomatoes (three varieties), Lebanese cucumber, spinach, various types of squash, zucchini, pumpkins, golden and purple beetroot, Florence fennel, radicchio (four varieties), and beans, just to name a basketful. Elsewhere we have given our botanical beds a replenishment. Ollie Margan’s penchant for utilizing garden fresh produce to make Vermouth is set to continue with enthusiasm. Our dedicated botanical beds this season are flourishing with a roster of regular and newly introduced ingredients – wormwood, chamomile, lemongrass, lemon balm, hyssop, and rhubarb. Quietly growing in the suburbs of the garden are chocolate, apple, eau de cologne mint, as well as pineapple sage. Undoubtedly you will be seeing these featured in some refreshing Margan summer cocktails very soon.

Whichever season you choose to visit the Margan restaurant, you can be guaranteed to taste a whole new array of dishes which reflect the seasonal and sustainable growth of the garden. Just like with our grapes, we let the seasons dictate what to grow, ensuring we can provide the freshest and healthiest produce possible. We hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading, and if you’re ever visiting, stop by the garden and say hello!