New Year brings a new approach to the Torridon kitchen garden with Les departing at the end of 2012. Andy Murray, not the dour tennis player, but an Englishman who has a better forehand with his garden fork than a tennis raquet, joins Craig who has been with us for over two years now.
The team’s strength and experience to date lies in ground care and green-keeping, so you can expect manicured lawns and golf course…well maybe not.
We have decided to strip much of the garden back and return to basics to make everything more manageable and easier to maintain. Bruno and I have discussed what he would like grown for the kitchen and I have seen what grows well here in our challenging weather conditions, particularly in our occasional fierce winds.
Fruit is mostly taken care of as we look to capitalise on work done in previous years with apples, blackcurrants, plums, gooseberries, red currants all growing well. Our raspberries and strawberries have seen their last fruit so we will be looking to put in new plants for the promise of fruit in years to come.
I would like to add some blackberries and loganberries as the kitchen would make great use of them in jams and desserts. We will be growing 10-15 vegetables in more quantities and staggered for the season with purple sprouting broccoli, beetroot, turnip, onions, leeks.
Our raised beds are coming on each year as we add more compost and material to them. The kitchen can never get enough herbs and the plan is to triple herb production focusing mainly on the Simon and Garfunkel team of Parsley , Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. And Lavender.
I have already gone into the garden today and picked leeks, golden beetroot, kale and turnips and Bruno’s cod dish tomorrow will be accompanied by the leeks and kale.
The challenge for the year ahead will be to try and not get ahead of ourselves, learning and working together as a team to get the best out of our west coast soil and temperamental climate.