Outside Story #3

Newlina-Eco Gardens Tuscan Kale in Polytunnels

At Newlina Eco-Gardens we grow salads, vegetables and herbs for the Cornish Food Box Company mainly in Poly-tunnels. As a Social Enterprise we are reaching out to inspire people about eco-logical gardening and our natural environment and are now creating a wild garden on our site in a one acre field. Here we can try to re-create wild habitat and eventually offer wild food to our customers without endangering precious wildlife habitats which can be depleted by over-foraging.

An aspect of Eco-logical gardening is to choose plants that want to grow within our climate albeit with the extra layer of protection that the poly-tunnels provide. Of course many of the perfect crops for our cool, damp Cornish Climate are in the Brassicas family like our Tuscan and Russian Kales.

All of us seasonal vegetable consumers might grow tired of the Kales in the Winter but this week it has reminded us not to take them for granted. We have had our first invasion of Cabbage Root Fly maggots in 10 years of growing and are looking at organic ways of dealing with these maggots that are nibbling at the Kale roots. The young plants just planted were so healthy but are falling over like little trees cut down in their prime.

How lucky we are most of the year when this health-giving leafy food grows through rain and frost and even drought when it is given some TLC.

Kale is full of many important vitamins and minerals especially Calcium and Vitamin C and there is evidence that it is also anti-carcinogenic.

Of course we are looking for wild plants now as well as cultivated ones for our wild garden. Kale has many wild and native cousins which shows how naturally at home it is in our climate. Along our Cornish coastline, Sea Kale grows abundantly with its glossy, salt resistant leaves. This is hard to cultivate with its corky seeds but Wild Cabbage, another coastal Wild Brassica, is one that would be easier to grow, according to Plants For A Future Data base- a valuable resource.

If you have experience of growing wild foods in your garden and have some tips for us please email: info@newlinaeco-gardens.co.uk


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