Gardens & Food

Vegetables and fruit play a large part in our diet. We have a large garden of around 6 acres in which we try to grow as much fruit & veg as we are able. We have a large orchard (mainly apples), fruit cages, a fairly large strawberry bed, raised vegetable beds and other vegetable gardens. There is a lot of grass, some flower and shrub borders, and above all weeds.

We normally eat the vegetables as soon as possible after picking. Much of our produce is also used to supply the guests at the Guest House. Growing (and eating) food is an ongoing battle of wits between us and the other creatures that live in our garden: the muntjac deer who eat almost everything they can get to, the birds, the squirrels, the rabbits, foxes, moles and of course the cats!

The Community shares its gardens with a large tribe of hens. Eggs are sometimes available for sale from the Guest House.

There follows a short extract from Sister Alison Francis’ 1975 Little Treatise on the Feathered Tribe Domestic.

1. The Task

The task before you is the provision of the community, guests and customers with an adequate supply of eggs every day. For this purpose you are supplied with hens.

Every flock of hens is different from every other flock of hens; each has its individual method of being a nuisance.

Under our present system, you will probably need an average of one and a half hours a day to care for them, sometimes more, sometimes less.

The first year is the worst year.

“If a hen wants to get to the place where it is already, it goes through the drinking water and back again.” (Edward Johnston)