A tomato is just not a tomato, and a cherry is a lot more than just a cherry. At Salthamn we value and forage as much as possible from the wild pantry that Nature already provides, whilst also complementing it with cultivated crops from our own small-scale kitchen garden. We actively work to expand both the wild pantry and the cultivated supply of produce so that we as much as possible can be self-sufficient on these resources. Since 2020 we have planted more than 2000 different trees and shrubberies throughout the Salthamn valley, among them wild cherry Prunus avium, birches, Betula pendula, common hazel Corylus avellana, European elder Sambucus nigra, and Saskatoon Amalanchier alnifolia. We do this among several other reasons to build on and complement Nature’s wild pantry. As well as the reforestation of Salthamn and the kitchen garden, we have also established an orchard which partly consists of a clone archive of unique Gotlandic apple varieties which have been collected from farms and homesteads throughout the island of Gotland.
We love the diversity of colors, shapes and tastes which different vegetables, fruits and berries offer. Therefore, we continuously work with a plant selection that mainly consists of heirloom varieties from well sorted seed distributors and plant schools, while at the same time try to harvest as many seeds from our own cultivation as possible.
To be a part of, and take a part in, the whole is important. Because of this, we at Salthamn take pride in working with the whole process that is ”From Soil to Table”. We sow our seeds in the spring, we process and prepare the soil for the upcoming growing season, we repot, and we plant so that we, come summer, can offer our kitchens and our guests daily harvested, fresh, and nutritious greens, fruits, and veggies.
But when you think about it, you can’t really say that it is us humans who grow all of these vegetables, fruits and berries that we later serve our guests – rather it is the soil who does the work for us. What we instead can say is that we at Salthamn are growing and caring for the soil, and that the soil grows that which we further down the line serve at our tables.
Because of this, the health of the soil is of utmost importance to us: we care for the microorganisms, the bacteria, the funghi, the worms, and the insects which builds and adds nutrients to our soils and at the same time keeps them fresh and healthy. Of the food scraps we make our own compost which we later add to our cultivations. In the kitchen garden, we exclusively work with hand tools, applying a no-dig approach combined with mulching and cover cropping.
The no-dig approach means that we refrain from digging and thus avoid disturbing the soil and its inhabitants. With the Mulching and cover cropping approach we never leave the soil bare during the growing- and rest period, instead we cover it with organic material, mainly from our own produce of hay from our own grass cultivations. This cover cropping approach has three main benefits:
1. The cover material decomposes, thus feeding the soil with organic matter,
2. The cover inhibits the germination of weeds,
3. The soil is more prone to holding moisture since it is not directly exposed to sunlight.
We believe that healthy soils produce healthy crops, and we take great pride and responsibility in ensuring that our soils thrive It is a given for us to not use any chemical herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers in our approach to agriculture. We follow the guidelines of ecological farming, though we are not certified in any of these practices. Instead, we believe in defining our own guidelines and practices and at the same time have a transparent approach where we invite our guests to visit, observe and ask us questions about our gardening philosophies. See you in the garden!