The Margan Garden - Winter Produce

Summer 2024 has had a long run here in Broke Fordwich with the warm Autumn days easily mistaken for early summer weather. As a result, the Margan Kitchen Garden is still producing most of its summer harvest staples, right up into April. As the nights become cooler, the next few months will start to look very different in the garden, especially after the first frost appears.

The summer garden radiated colour and fragrance in abundance, providing our kitchen team with our trusty regular crops such aseggplant,cherry tomatoesandLebanese cucumbers, as well as new experimental additions such ascucamelonsand chocolate mint. These were eagerly incorporated into many of our summer dishes, offering a delicious spectrum of flavours, textures and colours. Our garden is, of course, managed under organic principles, so these veggies are all healthy, happy and good for you!

As the season drew to an end we once again had to begrudgingly clear the garden beds in order to prepare them for replanting. We gave them a quick aeration using a rudimentary tool called thebroad forkwhich ensures minimal soil disruption whilst also allowing for decompaction of clay soil. We then fertilise the soil before allowing the bed to sit and settle for a week prior to planting. We also have a pile oflocally sourced mushroom compost; the steam for the decomposition process no doubt providing a very wintery ambiance on the upcoming chilly mornings. Once the winter crops have reached a level of maturity this compost will be lightly added to the beds as a top dressing to help build ideal soil structure.

So what crops can you expect to see gracing the menu this winter in the Margan restaurant? Well, plenty ofbrassicas– thinksugarloaf,savoy,red acreandwombok cabbage. From the broccoli side of the brassicas we have sproutingcalabreseandspigarielloboth in the ground.

All year-round favourites continue providing us with sustenance in the form ofred and golden beetroot,cherry belle and daikon radish,carrotandturnip. Our spectrum of leafy greens includelettuce, of which we have a number of varieties planted, as well asthree types of trusty kale,chardandradicchio.

From our spicy vegetable bed we haverocket,frilly mustardandred giant mustard. A winter variety ofspring onionwill soon provide a striking and tasty garnish whilst ourbrown bulb onioncontinues to mature. And while we wait for all of the aforementioned crops to reach the point of harvest, we haveyacón andJerusalem artichoke– harvested from the same bed yet providing majorly contrasting tasting experiences – to bridge the gap between summer and winter crops. Plus a a range of staples grown in our green house.

Despite growth slowing as the days draw shorter and the early morning frosts set in, it remains an exciting time of the year for any food lover, especially those who appreciate locally and sustainably grown produce. We have a great Autumn menu rolling out now and then new seasonal additions will be added over the coming months as Winter settles in. Just add a glass of red wine and get comfy by our open wood fire.

Hopefully we will see you soon!