How Do We Grow the Ingredients For Those Fresh Salads?

Yesterday was an overcast but mostly warm sort of day with only a couple of light showers.

A perfect day to spend a few, very pleasant hours, working in the Lodge vegetable gardens.

Most of the attention was centred around the pick and pluck salad beds for the Lodge kitchen. The role of these particular beds is to provide fresh nutritious leafy vegetables for salads that are served to guests at lunch and dinner. Chefs and kitchen hands often remark how it is a highlight of their day being able to walk down to the garden and harvest a variety of fresh nutritious greens.

So what are we growing?

We try and grow a number of plant varieties to ensure that salads are interesting in both taste and texture. These varieties include:

  • Various heritage lettuce varieties
  • Spring Onions
  • Kale
  • Several different varieties of spinach
  • Chard
  • Asian greens – A mix of salad greens including HH Chinese cabbage, Ruruhau, Purple mustard and Mizuna Red Cora
  • Rocket
  • Purslane
  • Coriander
  • Beetroot – leaves in salads, edible roots for other dishes

Al these plants are grown without any artificial fertiliser or pesticides, with the exception of some slug bait (slugs and snails ravage the young seedlings if no protection is given).

The Growing System

The path we have gone down is following the “Bio-Intensive” gardening system as developed by John Jeavons and others. Every season we seem to learn so much more! What an exciting journey.

The essential elements of this system include:

  • Double-Dug, Raised Beds
  • Composting
  • Intensive Planting
  • Companion Planting
  • Carbon Farming
  • Calorie Farming
  • The Use of Open-Pollinated Seeds
  • A Whole-System Farming Method

We cannot in all honesty say that we tick all the boxes yet, but we are on the road. Food and farming that is good for us and for the planet.

After writing this, I think I will head down to the Lodge for lunch today!

Brian Megaw

A couple of the raised beds in the River Valley Lodge kitchen – or pick and pluck garden

More vegetables beds in the River Valley Lodge pick and pluck garden. The beds will be at their most productive in January and February.