As the weather is changing and the first signs of spring are arriving, we are starting to dig into the dirt here at The Beaumont Inn with all the preparations for this year’s heirloom garden. With over 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables planned for the garden this year, we are always trying to improve and offer more foods grown right on our land. The farm-to-table idea can seem like a lofty goal, but when our guests can see our gardens from a patio table and know the tomatoes or spinach or peppers in their dish come straight from there, it makes all the effort worthwhile.
A large garden takes hard work and a willingness to adapt to its needs every spring. We’ve added two 55-gallon compost tumblers with drainage spouts to create our own compost and nutrient-rich water for the garden. To date, our seed order was placed and just arrived with a wide variety of produce.
Some highlights of this year’s harvest will be: New Zealand spinach, Victoria rhubarb, corno di toro giallo peppers, lungo bianco zucchini, candela di fuoco radish, crapaudine beets, waltham butternut squash, pusa asita black carrots, Lao white eggplant, and 18 different heirloom tomato varieties… just to name a few! The concept of knowing exactly where our food comes from, and what has been used to fertilize it, is a key component of the high standards we set for every dish.
Before the seeds hit the dirt, though, we need to make sure the soil itself is in top-notch condition. We have 24 raised beds that measure 5′ x 10′ and 12″ deep. After the end of every season the beds get raked out and turned with a pitchfork in preparation for the next year. Then we add mushroom compost, turn the soil again, and finish the process with the addition of earthworms.
Here in Dallas, a good rule of thumb is to have everything in the ground by Memorial Day. Starting May 1, planting begins with the cold weather crops like beets, radishes, and carrots. The planting continues throughout the month, finishing up with tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant by the end of May. These later crops have already been seeded indoors to get a jump on an early, healthy start. The organization of the beds and proper crop rotation is key to the plants getting the nutrition they need but that’s a topic for another day.
So until then, stay organic my friends.