Growing Awareness - Autumn in the Walled Garden
Welcome to the latest garden news-post with our Apprentice Gardener Amy Cairns
Say goodbye to tomatoes, but hello to apples!
Autumn has started to swirl around us and the garden greets us with misty mornings and blustery afternoons. Summer crops are coming out of the beds to make way for autumnal salads of chicory, endive and peppery mustard leaves.
It’s always a wrench to say farewell to a favourite vegetable until next season, but one of the hardest goodbyes for me has to be the tomatoes. Our heritage varieties have been so delicious and abundant this year that the glasshouse has seemed like a fragrant jungle!
Chocolate Cherry, Gardener’s Delight, Goldiana, Yellow Submarine, Green Zebra, Tigrella, Ruthje, Quadro, and Brandywine, are some of the tomatoes our retreatants have enjoyed this summer.
Winter crops are swelling and we look forward to harvesting our succulent squash and pumpkins, crunchy leeks, and purple sprouting broccoli in the months approaching winter solstice.
It’s such a joy to eat with the seasons and reconnect with nature’s cycles and the passing of time.
Seasonal food is fresher, tastier and more nutritious, as well as being less impactful on the earth, with less energy needed to grow and transport the food we eat. Sustainability, food sovereignty and connection with nature are key to the ethos of our organic gardens at Sharpham. Our wish is to provide retreatants with a nourishing foundation for their personal journeys and to create a peaceful environment for contemplation.
The October Orchard
Keats named autumn the season of “mellow fruitfulness”, and that has been very evident here at Sharpham. Autumn fruiting raspberries have been abundant in the fruit cage from late summer and will fruit until the first frosts.
Basketfuls of plums and gages have been regularly hauled from the orchards since late August. Pears and apples are ripening on the garden walls and in Home Orchard, where the trees are bending under the abundant weight of the fruit.
In the weeks leading up to Apple Day at Sharpham, things tend to get a little fruity for the garden team. We have many kilos of apples to harvest from the orchard, ready for juicing in the apple press, and this year we’ve needed all the help we can get.
Our brilliant volunteers have been lending a hand to gather beautiful heritage and local apple varieties with their vibrant names: Tydeman’s Early, Sops in Wine (pictured at the top of the page), Dolls Eye, Pitmaston Pineapple, Totnes Apple, and Devonshire Quarrenden to name but a few!
We are looking forward to welcoming you at our annual Apple Day this Sunday 6th October for a whole host of apple-themed activities including storytelling, walks, crafts, games, and of course a chance to try our freshly pressed apple juice. See you there!
Pictures by Head Gardener Bryony Middleton
Find out more about Sharpham's gardens here