Carina Contini: ‘I love the patience and practicality of gardeners’

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In her monthly reports, Centotre and the Scottish Cafe owner Carina Contini updates us on her efforts to create a kitchen garden.

We’ve got at least six inches of snow in the garden and my children are having a ball. The paths between the beds and the natural slope of the garden are making the best sledging runs. Thankfully no damage has been reported other than to our leeks, which seem to be sustaining our neighbourhood fox through the winter. While the garden is like a picture postcard, the bothy is like a lovely cosy little mountain retreat.

Outside, the snow is deep enough that it’s insulating all the kale, garlic and leeks whose green leaves are just popping out. Inside, it’s perfectly cosy for our seedlings that have been potted ready to go outside in the better weather. We’ve got crimson flower broad beans and sweat peas planned for June, and baby mustard frills for May. We’re all hoping the snow won’t last too long and that the temperature doesn’t drop too much that we lose the crops.

The mild weather last week allowed the team to get most of the soil cleared and prepared for our apple trees. But with all the snow, this job has been put on hold. This week we’ve been organising celeriac, parsnips, carrots and beetroot seed orders. These will be nurtured in the old window frames that were salvaged from the house to make mini cold frames.

I love the patience and practicality of gardeners that naturally makes what they do so sustainable. Practical steps that are not harmful to the environment or the food chain take place at every stage of growing. I wish all aspects of our food industry were the same. While our kitchen garden will help me eat more greens, I doubt I’ll be vegetarian, but it will help me learn to be patient, practical and sustainable. An opportunity for us all to be as happy as the children, whatever our age.

Casa San Lorenzo (; Twitter: @CasaSanLorenzo