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The vegetable garden at Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Misty morning views of the Vegetable Garden at Sissinghurst
Misty morning views of the Vegetable Garden at Sissinghurst | © National Trust Images/Olivia Steed-Mundin

The vegetable garden at Sissinghurst Castle was created in 2008 and has been evolving since then into the plot that you see today, but there’s more to it than just a few vegetables. 

Harvest highlights

Autumn is when our organic vegetable garden is at its absolute best.

Our beautiful heritage pumpkins will ripen to a rainbow of colours including orange, brown, yellow, red, green and white. Root vegetables will be coming into their own too with delicious parsnips, carrots and beets pushing their tops out of the soil.

Look out for our trial beds, where we will be harvesting unusual vegetables this autumn including quinoa, luffa, edamame beans and chickpeas.

We harvest every morning and wheel our veggies down to the restaurant and to the plant shop where they are ready for our visitors to enjoy.

Harvested vegetables from Sissinghurst Castle Garden
A collection of harvested vegetables from Sissinghurst Castle Garden | © National Trust Images/Olivia Steed-Mundin

Colourful pickings

A bounty of root vegetables, freshly harvested by our Vegetable Garden team. Visitors can enjoy our produce in our restaurant and is available to purchase from the plant shop.

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Our work

It is a busy, productive and beautiful space, bursting with fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit. Organic and ecological sound principles are at the heart of what we do. We grow using the No Dig method, use companion plants and cultural control instead of chemicals, and use locally sources materials such as hazel supporters from the Sissinghurst Estate and water from our borehold. We are very proud that we achieved Organic accreditation in 2023 from the Soil Association.

We harvest every morning, wheeling the produce just a few metres down to the kitchen, where it is used by our chefs to produce meals for visitors. It can also be purchased by visitors in the shop. Each punnet or bag purchased helps us to do important conservation work at Sissinghurst every day.

It's a little visited, yet hugely busy part of Sissinghurst, so when spending a hour or two here, why not wander up to the vegetable garden which enjoys uninterrupted views of the Kent countryside beyond.

For the view alone, it’s worth the detour, but you can also find a secluded spot for picnicking too, you can see all our fruit and vegetables growing and discover more about how we grow all the tasty produce that ends up on plates in the restaurant.

The early origins of the veg garden were far simpler than what you see today. The nearly four-acre field was originally set up with large productive beds, but in 2012 the large beds were separated into smaller 4ft-wide beds with narrow paths between them.

There have been many other improvements over the years. One of these is the introduction of two polytunnels, which mean that our less weather-resistant crops have a safe haven and an opportunity to thrive all year round.

Organic Gardening

Organic gardening is more than just not using chemicals. It is an integrated approach to gardening which aims to enhance biodiversity, improve soil health and follow excellent growing practices. The idea is that by doing these things, you enhance the growing environment, boost your plant health and thereby eliminate the need for chemicals. Our vegetable garden is a great place to come to learn more about organic gardening.

What is no-dig gardening?

We use the 'no dig' method for growing vegetables, piling mulch or compost on top of the soil annually, rather than digging it in. This is very successful at Sissinghurst, where our heavy Wealden clay soil is hard to work. On an environmental scale, by leaving the soil undisturbed, carbon remains locked in and therefore reduces emission into the atmosphere.

There are many reasons why using no-dig is beneficial here at Sissinghurst: 

  • Reducing the germination of weed seeds due to them not being brought to the surface and exposed to the light. 
  • Increasing worms and other soil fauna, which in turn aerate the soil. 
  • Preserving beneficial fungi and bacteria, such as mycorrhizae, which form a symbiotic relationship with plants and enable them to extract nutrients and water, even in unfavourable soil conditions. 
  • Reducing the effort of digging the composts/manures into the soil, which is much appreciated on our heavy Wealden clay.
The tower is seen through the branches of a magnolia tree, with a few pale pink flowers, at Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent

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Find out when Sissinghurst Castle Garden is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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