Fresh, home grown fruit and vegetables and herbs that go straight from the field to your plate are valuable “super foods” that elevates cuisine to a new level and gives it it’s sought-after added value. This is why at Terme Krka we do our best to offer as much locally-grown produce as possible.
In addition to buying produce from verified local producers, we have also created our owngardenswhere we grow vegetables, herbs, aromatic plants and berries. Our Castle Garden, as we named it, is located near Otočec Castle in pristine nature. The master chefs from the restaurants at Otočec Castle, Hotel Sport Otočec and Terme Šmarješke Toplice all use the produce to create tasty dishes and local specialities. You can visit the garden and have a chat with the gardener who will let you in on many a secret of growing healthy food.
Biodiversity and organic farming
The Castle Garden is home to a variety of vegetables and aromatic plants, as well as fruit trees and berries. They have been planted in a diverse and well thought out way. In this way, the flowers and herbs planted among the vegetables deter pests or attract helpful insect that get rid of unwanted insects.This means that we do not use any chemicals to protect the plants.We only occasionally use homeopathic methods to deter wireworms, cabbage-stem flea beetles and other beetles.
Local varieties have priority here since they are more resilient and better adapted to our climate, but also as we want to show our guest how diverse and full of flavour the local food is.
We are deeply committed to organic farming in our Castle Garden. Furthermore, we would like to follow the rules of biodynamic farming as much as possible in planting and harvesting. This is because we know that this method considers the natural rhythms and natural laws of gardening to ensure produce of even higher quality. Produce grown on a timely sown and harvested plant contains more vitamins and other valuable substances, while also having a fuller flavour and aroma.
In spring, the garden is full of vegetables (such as Swiss chard, spinach, garlic, onions, Savoy cabbage, red cabbage, yellow cabbage, beetroot, peas, radishes, red and yellow carrots, broad beans, grains, arugula, spring lettuces) as well as herbs and aromatic plants (such as lemon balm, thyme, parsley, summer savory, basil, rosemary, sage, lavender, chamomile, marjoram, oregano, mint, chives). Over the course of the year, there are also berries (such as strawberries, gooseberries, red currents, raspberries, blackberries) and a variety of fruit (cherries and apples), as well as flowers.
A soothing experience
The vision of the Castle Garden is to create a pleasant ambiance that offers visitors and users of the garden an aesthetic and soothing experience. To achieve this, we try to recreate nature, its patterns and rules, so that we can experience the same diversity of colours and scents that can be found in nature, the wide variety of plants and arrangements – both chaotic and orderly.
Two sides of the garden border on woodland, a valuable ecosystem that serves as our inspiration. In the woods, leaves and dry twigs fall to the ground where they then create a fertile foundation in which seeds can then germinate. The same goes for our garden. We do not dig it, only loosen the top layer. We use natural things to loosen and protect the surface layer – branches, straw, sheep’s wool and leaves, and we use our own compost made from garden waste as well as horse’s and sheep’s manure to fertilise the soil. Since the compost retains moisture well, we do not have to water the beds very often.
Try the fresh produce from the Castle Garden
We have created a space next to the garden shed where visitors, who have arranged for a tour, can sample and tastethe lovely things that grow in our garden. Guests of Hotel Sport can also visit the garden together with a chef and pick herbs and vegetables for the chef to then prepare for their dinner. Visitors are also welcome to help out in the garden. Creating in a garden surrounded by nature the perfect experience for anyone who comes from urban areas where they do not have much contact with nature and frequently breathe in polluted air. This “agrofitness”is becoming an increasingly popular healthy activity.
Wellness in nature
The vegetable beds are interwoven with paths covered in soft wood chips, while access paths and rest areas are paved with natural stone. From the garden a view of the fields towards Vinji Vrh and over the Krka river to the Gorjanci hills opens up. A walk through the beds, listening to relaxing bird song and tasting the fullness of flavour of the food grown at Otočec, together with swimming in the thermal pool and other sports activities, creates a unique wellness experience.
The calming embrace of nature and the health benefits of its gifts fill you with new energy and enthusiasm.