Nestled amidst the enchanting landscapes of Ashford Estate, a remarkable transformation is taking place. The Ashford Castle garden project aims to make the estate as self-sufficient as possible in producing vegetables and fruits. With a commitment to sustainable and organic practices, the project is employing innovative techniques and aligning with the principles of Biodynamic agriculture.

Our Growing Methods

We started planning a 'no-dig' method to create fertile beds without disturbing the existing grassland in 2021 and the first beds were made in 2022. This process involved cutting the grass low, placing cardboard to suppress weeds, and filling wooden boxes with 20cm of organic compost from Enrich, a reputable company based in County Meath. Clean wood chips were used to create pathways between the beds, promoting a holistic and eco-friendly approach.

Inspired by biodynamic agriculture, the Ashford Castle garden project incorporates celestial guidance, leveraging the movements of the moon and planets. This holistic approach ensures optimal planting and harvesting conditions, creating a harmonious balance with nature.

Presently, the garden boasts 20 perennial beds nurturing asparagus, rhubarb, and horseradish. Additionally, there are 70 annual beds cultivating a variety of crops, including salads, carrots, beetroots, and more. The meticulous care taken in adjusting soil pH ensures the thriving success of these vibrant beds.

In the spring of 2023, we introduced apple trees and berry bushes. With the promise of future bounties, these additions, including gooseberries, blackcurrants, and raspberries, will contribute to the estate's seasonal produce. From May to mid-October, guests at Ashford Castle can savour a delightful array of produce, including salad mix, spinach, parsley, baby carrots, baby beetroots, baby turnips, baby leeks, courgettes, winter squash, kale, rhubarb, baby fennel bulbs, and a colourful assortment of edible flowers. The culmination of this garden project enhances the culinary offerings and strengthens the castle's commitment to a sustainable and an environmentally conscious future.

Our Truffle Grove and Beehives

Adding an element of luxury, the Ashford Castle garden project planted a truffle grove composed of hazelnut trees infused with summer truffle. Patiently waiting for approximately four years, the upcoming harvest of summer truffles will add a touch of culinary sophistication. To enhance pollination and offer a sweet treat to guests, two beehives were introduced in the spring of 2023, contributing to the flourishing ecosystem of the estate.

Looking ahead

As the garden project unfolds, the coming autumn and winter promise the planting of a magnificent apple orchard comprising 300 trees. This ambitious initiative sets the stage for the castle to eventually produce its own alcohol, showcasing the estate's dedication to sustainability and self-sufficiency.

The Ashford Castle garden project is not merely about cultivating crops; it symbolises a commitment to environmental stewardship, culinary excellence, and a harmonious connection with nature. As the seasons change, so too will the gardens, evolving and flourishing, offering a testament to the enduring spirit of Ashford Castle.