In March 2022, our 2.5-acre market garden site was a horse pasture. In just three months our growers Signe and Rosanna had completely transformed it. In June, after a manically busy spring, we launched our new vegetable box scheme, selling a wide range of vegetables and herbs to local customers. Growing regeneratively means we’re always aiming to have living roots in the soil, keeping the surface covered with a wide range of plants to help build topsoil and protect it from the drying sun and wind, and excessive rain. Restoring the soil also increases biodiversity – from soil biota to the insects that act as pollinators and pest control. We disturb the soil as little as possible, planting directly into it, without digging and overturning, allowing the soil biome to thrive.
Ihe Knepp Market Garden is based on a six-block crop rotation, filled with the vegetables that we love to cook with. We have fruit crops (tomatoes, courgettes, legumes etc), brassicas (kales etc), alliums (leeks, onions etc), roots (carrots, beetroot, celeriac etc) and leaves (salad crops etc). The sixth block is a cover crop, establishing a mixture of roots in the ground, building soil out of our tough Wealden clay, and providing for pollinators. Woven into the layout are beetle-banks (mixed vegetation providing habitat for insects) and beds for growing cut flowers. Sussex heritage apple trees surround the main growing area, in a wildflower meadow. We have a propagation poly-tunnel, and temporary ‘caterpillar’ tunnels for tomatoes and cucumbers.
Compost from Knepp’s Regenerative Farm feeds the Market Garden, minimising the need for external inputs. Our over-riding aim is always to boost life in the soil. This creates a balanced and resilient ecosystem in which we can grow the most nutritious and delicious produce possible. We are in our first year of conversion to Soil Association Certification, so every aspect of our growing is organic.
The Market Garden will supply produce for our new farm shop and café, due to open in 2023. We’ll be offering ‘Seed to Plate’ tours for visitors to learn about our regenerative, ‘no-dig’ system of producing food whilst building soil and biodiversity.
Meet our growers: Rosanna & Signe
Are you local to Knepp? Why no pick up some freshly harvested vegetables at the weekend from the coffee trailer in the walkers car park 10am – 4pm. For all other orders and enquiries contact firstname.lastname@example.org.