This article was originally published in the Winter 2016 edition of the Carterton Crier.
With a new year under way and spring just around the corner, it’s time to turn our minds to our gardens and outside spaces and show them a bit of love.
I have a strong passion for the outdoors and have a special relationship with my garden and allotment, which reward my family and me with a place to socialise with friends, food for the kitchen and a place to sit and just be in the peace and beauty they offer.
Just this week, even in the depths of winter, my outdoor space has been providing eggs fresh from our hens and veggies from the garden including chard, parsnips, oca and Jerusalem artichokes.
Carterton is no stranger to growing fresh local produce. Back in 1984, local man William Carter’s company bought land, now called Carterton, and divided it into 6 acre smallholdings. These were mainly sold for just £20 per acre and £120 for a bungalow to retiring soldiers or people moving in from town locations looking for a bit of the good life.
Many of these small market gardens and smallholdings put Carterton on the map, especially in the world-renowned Covent Garden Market in London which sold the town’s very sought-after and famous Carterton tomatoes. They are immortalised on a sculpture in town on the Alvescot Road at the entrance to Carters Walk.
Imagine being able to keep the spirit of Carterton tomatoes alive in your own garden at home. They are super easy to grow and great for kids to watch and spark their interest in local fresh and healthy food. I can promise you – there is nothing quite like a tomato which you have grown yourself and just picked off the vine.
You can grow them in a grow-bag or in the soil in either a greenhouse or outside. You can even get varieties which grow in pots on patios.
But why stop at tomatoes? You could also start a trend of Carterton courgettes, Carterton carrots or even Carterton cabbages. The veggie garden really is your oyster.
Don’t forget the wild food on offer later in the season around the town too, such as walnuts and cherries growing in public areas up by Kilkenny Lane or the many blackberry bushes around the town.
Over in Witney they have a local group called Edible Witney which plants vegetables in flower beds provided by the Town Council. How fabulous would it be to see this in Carterton? Carterton tomatoes growing in beds in the Market Square!
Richard MacKenzie – The Witney Gardener