As spring approaches, we hear about what’s new in the Torridon Garden from Kitchen Grower Bryony
Last year we had a busy and successful season growing fruit and vegetables in our two acre Kitchen Garden, and now the year has come full circle, spring is arriving, fast, and the fun is beginning all over again.
In the run up to the spring equinox the days are lengthening and the warmer temperatures mark the time to start mulching and fertilizing the ground. One of the most important jobs for a vegetable gardener is to “give back” to the soil after it’s given you so much. Your crops have taken many of the nutrients and minerals out of the soil, but adding organic matter to your vegetable and ornamental beds feeds the soil slowly and steadily, which in turn, allows the soil to feed this year’s plants.
Here at The Torridon we try to use all the available organic waste coming from the hotel, local livestock and surrounding area and turn it into something valuable that can be used in the garden to make the components come full circle. Our rocket composter, which eats every scrap of food waste coming from our kitchens, our huge pile of cow manure from the resort’s Highland cows and the garden compost bins which take all the garden waste throughout the year are some examples of this sustainable way of life.
I recently travelled to our neighbours in the Beinn Eighe nature reserve to collect some cremated deer ashes. Deer management in the Highlands ultimately safeguards the animals welfare but also makes possible the re-generation of the Scottish native woodland which has suffered in the past from over grazing by deer and sheep. The sustainably sourced venison is used in our restaurants and, it turns out, in the garden too! The unusable parts of the deer carcass, such as the heads, are cremated and I can use these ashes, mixed with manure and compost, to mulch and fertilise the garden beds and get them ready for planting up when the time is right.
Whatever your beliefs on sustainability, it’s unarguable that venison sourced within 20 kilometres of the hotel, served with vegetables grown in the garden here, using organic waste provided by ourselves and the Beinn Eighe Resort is up there with one of the most sustainable meals you can eat. And certainly the most delicious!