Rich pickings at Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Fresh produce from our own veg garden

The vegetable garden is full of promise during April. The beds have been weeded and mulched; the supports are in place, and some young shoots are peeping through the soil. The herb beds are already looking good enough to eat.

It doesn’t seem long ago that we cut down the old autumn-fruiting raspberry canes; now the new leaves are emerging, the bright, vivid green of early spring growth. Another exciting arrival is the asparagus, which we will begin to harvest this month, its slender stalks contrasting with the neighbouring rhubarb and artichokes.

The rest of the garden starts coming to life as we plant out the plug plants sown and raised in the greenhouse and cold frames— beetroot, onions, lettuces and sweet peas. Meanwhile, both the elephant garlic and the broad beans sown last month are growing strong.

Sowing

Carrots – We have started to sow carrots direct, interspersed with spring onions, to disguise the sweet smell of the crop.

Cabbage – Beginning in March, we sow cabbage in the greenhouse every two weeks until the end of April. The varieties
include ‘Serpentine’ and ‘Rigoletto’, both Savoy-type cabbages, and the red ‘Rovite’ and ‘Rodima’ cabbages.

Plant out

Beetroot – ‘Boltardy’, ‘Chioggia’ ‘Cylindra’ and ‘Golden’ are the varieties planted together to give a pretty mix of colours.

Onions – Among the varieties of onion sown this year are ‘the torpedo-shaped ‘Tosca’ and the vivid red ‘Karmen’.

Lettuce – We will plant out an early crop of mixed red and green lettuces to make the most of the warm soil this month.

Harvesting

Rhubarb – We started harvesting our rhubarb in March as it is an early variety, and we continue to pick this for the restaurant. Fresh bundles of rhubarb are also popular in the Plant Shop.

Pea shoots and salad leaves – We sow these weekly in the greenhouse to maintain a regular crop of juicy shoots for the Granary restaurant. Our polytunnels are open to visitors, so come along and see the varieties you may have tried with your lunch.

Produce in the Plant Shop

This month, the produce table features three varieties of strawberry and the delicious ‘Timperley Early’ rhubarb. Our autumn-fruiting raspberries ‘Autumn Bliss’ and ‘Polka’ will also soon be available.