The Kitchen Garden at Olivers Plants
Our Kitchen Garden Journey
At Oliver’s Plants, our exciting venture into kitchen gardening began in October 2021, driven by two primary objectives.
Firstly, we aimed to cultivate a bountiful harvest of fruit and vegetables to meet the demand of our popular Black Horse Café.
Secondly, we wanted to trial various vegetable plant varieties to identify those best suited to the local conditions, ensuring that our Plant Centre customers receive top-quality plants with proven success.
Our journey commenced with the planting of garlic, swiftly followed by an array of vibrant crops, including lettuce, chard, spinach, and onions.
As our efforts flourished, we expanded our garden to include tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, squash, carrots, spring onions, and, more recently, the delightful addition of soft fruits, including raspberries and strawberries.
In October 2022 we were pleased to open our ‘Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patch’ which was enjoyed by many on the run up to Halloween.
June 2023 has seen our first crop of Strawberries which have been enjoyed by patrons at Black Horse Café and customers at the Plant Centre.
We prioritized soil preparation by incorporating Olivers Eco Compost soil improver into our planting process.
We utilized this enriched blend by mixing it into the soil and also applying it as a beneficial mulch.
Olivers Eco Compost has yielded numerous advantages:
1. Our vegetables planted in Eco Compost thrive and exhibit better shape compared to those grown in the local stony soil, particularly evident with carrots and potatoes.
2. Carrots, when topped with Olivers Eco Compost, experience ease in their growth as they no longer have to navigate through a compacted soil layer formed by watering, allowing them to flourish effortlessly.
3. The inclusion of Olivers Eco Compost aids in moisture retention and enhances soil structure, contributing to healthier plant growth.
Olivers Eco Compost is readily available for purchase at our Plant Centre or through our convenient Web shop.
At Oliver’s Plants, we are passionate about sustainable gardening practices, and we harness the power of vetch and rye green manure to nourish and enhance our soil.
Our collaboration with local residents has played a significant role in sowing our first crop of vetch and rye.
Green manure serves multiple purposes:
1. Vetch and rye act as nitrogen fixers, drawing atmospheric nitrogen and converting it into a form that plants can readily utilize. This enriches the soil, promoting healthier plant growth.
2. The deep-rooted nature of vetch and rye helps improve soil structure by breaking up compacted layers, enhancing drainage, and allowing better root penetration for subsequent crops.
3. As the green manure plants grow, they provide excellent ground cover, minimizing weed growth and preventing soil erosion.
4. Once the crop is ploughed back into the soil it releases the nutrients providing nourishment for the next crop along with the soil improving benefits as above.
We are grateful for the support and participation of our local residents in sowing our first crop of vetch and rye in September 2022. Together, we continue to nurture our soil, ensuring a sustainable and productive future for the land.
The addition of deer-proof fencing ensures that our carefully tended plants remain safe from wildlife damage. This protective measure allows us to maintain the integrity of our gardens and sustain our thriving crops.
We have recently extended an invitation to local residents, encouraging them to actively engage and learn more about kitchen gardening by participating in our garden. This hands-on experience provides a unique opportunity to acquire practical knowledge, exchange gardening tips, and foster a sense of community among fellow gardening enthusiasts.
These recent developments at Oliver’s Plants reflect our ongoing commitment to innovation, education, and creating a vibrant space where sustainable gardening practices flourish.