The garden of Château Neercanne

The garden of Château Neercanne

Every year all kinds of fruit and vegetables are grown in our château garden and processed in the kitchen into refined dishes. Our chef de cuisine from restaurant l’Auberge, works in collaboration with a group of volunteers, to ensure that every year a more organic and professional farming can be done. This all to create the tastiest, purest result for your taste buds. (More information can be find via information cards on location).

Contact information

Von Dopfflaan 10
6213 NG Maastricht
The Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)43 325 1359

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1 June

The art of planting

In our garden, vegetables, fruit and herbs slowly starts growing in April.
When the final cold and icy nights are over, it’s time to get to work.
Behind the scenes our volunteers and agricultural professional, Stefan Muijtjens, -> click to work hard to cultivate the garden. The old living room of the former general manager plays a special role in this process…

The cultivation plan

In order to make optimal use of everything that grows in our garden, a schedule clearly indicates what each bed is used for and when each plant species is planted. This scheme is designed by Stefan in a nice and clear overview, focused on diverse and varying plants. This plan is extremely helpful, as we look to avoid monotonous land use and use as many species as possible. The premise behind all this is to maintain a healthy garden and soil.

Our plant groups

Our ambitions go beyond the kitchen. We strive to cultivate our own plant material in the garden. In order to achieve this from the seed on, we divided the group of volunteers into several focus groups, so that we can work in a very targeted manner and together build  an abundance of knowledge and skills. Each person becomes an expert in their specialization, which transfers beautifully into a collective effort to develop the garden at our castle, growing closer to the ultimate end goal.

From living room to “maternity room”

After preparing the last beds in our garden, the soil is raked and tilled with a swirl to create a nairy grow bed so that the plants grow at their best. Compost is also added and processed with the ground cover. Then, on a typical fresh spring morning in early April, it’s time to plant the very first plant material.

Furthermore, a start is made to grow our own plant material in the old living room of our former general manager, Peter Harkema. ’A living space first used for him and his wife is now the “life” of our own cultivated plants. After the seeds sprouted, the first plants were planted in our garden in the May loop. It’s an exciting time for us and our garden, evoking a sense of curiosity and anticipation, a feeling garden enthusiasts can appreciate.

From planting seeds to sharing plants

The seed group has been hard at work to develop a precise and targeted approach. We set specific goals and deadlines to achieve sufficient amounts in result of the seeds growing. Not all seeds planted are successful, so we take this into consideration in order to meet our target production. That said, we avoid overcrowding our garden, giving our “plant friends” proper space to grow.

If our garden grows faster and better than expected, we create an ‘exchange day’ with the surplus of vegetables, fruit and herbs on hand. It becomes a unique moment to invite guests into our garden to exchange ingredients and knowledge, so guests can enjoy and cook with our ingredients at home.

1 March

Ending past garden year

A new garden year can’t properly begin without ending the previous year. This is done as follow: the garden beds that are no longer in use at time are sown with green cover. This has a three-part effect; first of all, keeping the soil in place during the winter months, secondly it keeps the soil structure separate from the root system that is formed by the plants and finally the plants also serve directly as a breeding ground for when spring arrives and new compost mixed under the ground is being created.

Preparation and new goals in our garden

In the month October or November we all sit together with the team of Château Neercanne to evaluate our previous garden year. The positive points but also points for improvement are clearly mapped out from which objectives for the new garden year are drawn up. With this global plan we will start to reform our gardens in the best possible way.

One of our greatest ambitions for the upcoming year is to create greater diversity in the garden. This is not directly done in different types of products, but more as variation in type of seeds. For example, not just growing the green zucchini, but a mixture of different zucchinis. In this way we can also investigate which products grow most prosperously and which varieties have the tastiest flavour.

As a result, our kitchens work less with cultivated plant material and we will grow this almost entirely ourselves. This means that we realise everything in our own garden from the seed.

A wide selection has been made of different vegetables that are grown in the garden of our château. This selection is mainly aimed at classical, organic varieties and hybrid varieties (or crossed and combined varieties) are removed. This remains a somewhat difficult issue, but also aims as a strong goal within our garden.

From seed to growing nutrition

In the month of December the orders for our garden are made at various garden seed dealers. We opt for organic seed because this fits in perfectly with our organic way of working in the garden.

The first seeds were already delivered at the end of February. At that time, preparations in the garden are already in full swing. The compost for the garden beds is distributed. The snow and cold make it quite nerve racking  for our gardens, but the sun wins it every time and gives a big boost in the development. We notice this mainly from the positive growth of the herbs in the garden, which indicates to us that our products are definitely going in the right direction.

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