What did we get up to over Autumn

squashes in the vegetable garden at Knightshayes

It's seems as though autumn has came and went so quickly this year. However, it was a season to savour here in the kitchen garden with so much left to harvest, and an abundance of rich colour and mellow sunny afternoons.

The frenetic pace of summer begins to ease but there’s still plenty to do as we begin cutting back, pruning and mulching the soil.
The apples and plums come into their own and we all get really excited about the squash and pumpkin harvest.  We have some sprucing up to do in the form of presentation work on the hedges. These are already looking much smarter, after their seasonal haircut at the end of summer.

The opening of our middle terrace has been a great success, allowing visitors in to a previously closed off part of the garden. We've had lots of interesting questions and hope it has helped people learn more about the conservation work we do. Excitingly, the restoration of our west wall is almost complete, too. The repointing and rewiring, carried out by Devon Ecobuild, will allow us to plant up the wall with some lovely heritage fruit trees, trained in traditional styles this winter.

vines in the autumnal sun in Knightshayes walled garden
vines on a trellis in autumnal sunlight at Knightshayes
vines in the autumnal sun in Knightshayes walled garden

Out on the beds and in our undercover areas we have had a great selection of tender exotic crops this year, many of them 'Lost crops of the Inca's'. These have done really well and we have been able to sell tomatillos, Achocha, aubergines and chilli's in our little kitchen garden shop.

We hope we can make something exciting with our quinoa harvest and will keep you posted when our wonderful Oca tubers get harvested this winter. We are even hoping to save our own Achocha seed this year.
We also held our biannual seed swap event in September. Visitors dropped in with spare seeds and exchanged them for some of Knightshayes own seeds. Part of our conservation work includes taking care of a great range of heritage vegetables and a selections of these seeds were on offer, so that we can help contribute to keeping rare heritage veg and fruit going in lots of different gardens in the years to come.

Gardeners working in the walled garden

The kitchen garden at Knightshayes

This two-and-a-half-acre walled kitchen garden with fairytale turrets is home to a vast collection of crops which are now almost extinct – including 102 varieties of heritage tomatoes.