Thinking about vegetables

Well, you do, don’t you? It’s that time of year when you start to look through seed catalogues and imagine crops growing in hot sunshine, and how they will taste when you harvest them. My job’s a bit bigger than most suburban gardeners this year however, as I’m working on a planting list for some of the beds we’ve opened up within the Amisfield Walled Garden near Haddington, and ‘we’ are the volunteers from the Amisfield Preservation Trust. The Garden, originally built in 1783, has had a number of uses since the end of the First World War. The latest was as a tree nursery, but it’s been neglected for many years. The Trust is trying to restore it as a garden, and to develop it for community uses and as a visitor attraction. Our winter work has resulted in clearing scrub and weeds from the warmest side of the garden, and we now have a large area ready for planting. We’ve decided to establish some beds as a kitchen garden, and to grow some of the vegetable varieties that might well have been grown in Victorian times. Of course, I’ve seen Heligan, and I know that with our tiny resources of money and volunteers we can’t hope to emulate that garden in a short time – the Amisfield Garden is 7½ acres after all – but we have to start somewhere.

We’ll be planting heritage potatoes in two of the beds. There’s a specialist supplier in Auchtermuchty who has some interesting old varieties. In the other two we’ll be planting the rest of the veg. Beans, peas, carrots, turnip, cabbage etc will be Victorian varieties where possible, but we’ve got the room to grow some big stuff too – globe artichokes, cardoons, pumpkins and marrows. There’s any amount of pea sticks and bean poles available, and we can start to recycle the products of neglect.

After months of cutting things down, it’s great to be able to think about planting and growing things, and this dank dreary time of year takes on a brighter side. All gardeners are optimists – we have to be.

After posting this, it occurred that a photo might put the place in perspective. So there it is. I may put some more Amisfield on a website later.


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
This entry was posted in gardening, gardens, vegetables. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Thinking about vegetables

  1. apprentice says:

    I like the shot, I love those tree shadows on the huge expanse of wall. I’ll say this only once lol! Rabbits!!!! I just hope all your hard work doesn’t get scoffed in one night, unless you plan to put chicken wire all round the patch.

    Diana the head-gardener up at Drum had a lovely potager in the walled garden there ruined by a rabbit. It turned out someone had let a domestic rabbit loose in the garden, thinking it would have an idyllic Beatrix Potter type life. It did until Diana called in a man with a ferret!

    I love those old tattie varieties, especially the blue ones. Curly Kale would be good too, very hardy, attractive and traditional.

  2. UKBob says:

    Hi Colin, I sure wished I lived closer because for sure you would have another volunteer. I think it would be great to bring the old garden back to life and would love to see some more pics of it when you get chance. I am assuming that the picture on your post is from inside the garden? It looks more like a forest than a garden at the moment so you have obviously got your work cut out. I hope someone is keeping a photographic record of before and after. Good luck, ~BoB~

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