Walled Garden & Orchard

The walled garden is open to farm visitors and school groups. Visits to the orchard are prearranged.

Before the farm opened to visitors, a priority was to carry out any site planting that was necessary which included the walled garden and orchard. The plan was to provide quiet spaces where the visiting public and schools could learn about food production and sustainable living and, most importantly, where their food comes from.

Walled Garden

The walled garden was created within the walls of an old agricultural barn and consists of raised beds, soft fruit area, trained fruit trees, herb garden, compost display and teaching area.  It includes a greenhouse and potting shed that are partly constructed from recycled wood and glass. This indoor space is used by schools and groups for hands-on learning. It also houses an aquaponics system which gives visitors an insight into growing food on a small scale using the fish fertiliser as feed for the plants.

Orchard

This quiet space consists of mature heritage fruit trees and a pumpkin patch, whilst providing an ideal habitat for wildlife. It is used by schools and groups and occasionally for special events, such as our Apple Day. This is a celebration of our heritage apples for families and involves various activities including ‘Pick your own for pressing’, where visitors can help themselves to apples for pressing into juice.

Farm to Fork

We call our walled garden a ‘teaching garden’ as there is always something growing or bearing fruit, depending on the time of year, for visitors and schools to see. In addition to the fruit and herbs, annual vegetables are grown according to a crop rotation system. Initially ground is prepared using manure supplied by our cattle and seeds are started in the greenhouse to reduce pest damage. The raised beds are planted with a succession of vegetables which fill out as the season progresses. Activities in the garden, for instance sowing or harvesting, are very popular with schools and fulfil a variety of curriculum links.

Our aim as a business is to operate sustainably so naturally our homegrown fruit and vegetables go to supply our seasonal menus and any surplus is for sale in the shop. We compost garden waste which eventually gets used for growing early vegetables in our hot boxes the following year. Rain water is harvested to water the garden and we also have a stand-alone solar powered water pump for irrigating the greenhouse.

Conservation

Where possible we grow heritage varieties of fruit and vegetables in the walled garden and orchard, such as Rhubarb Victoria (1837).  Many of these are not widely available so by growing these heritage varieties and saving their seed, we play our part in their conservation.

Volunteers

We have a few regular volunteers who enjoy working in the garden and orchard. For more detail, please contact lesley@greendragonecofarm.co.uk.