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Planting in the Garden

Planting in the Garden

Hello again and welcome back to the Medieval Kitchen Garden Blog. We have been busy utilising the sunshine breaks between showers by planting our magnificent raised beds!

As you may remember from my previous blog,our clever learners made six raised beds by hand,these are now filled to the brim with the young plants that Jane, from our amazing Grounds Team, has been nurturing throughout the winter in the greenhouse.

There is a wonderful array of young plants occupying the beds; from an varietys of beans to an unusual vegetable - skirret, not forgetting to mention the more familiar garden regulars’ such as onions, carrots and dandelions!

The morning commenced with the usual tea and welcome, then we were treated to a fantastic talk from our Learning Manager Julie Hayes on the different types of plants found in a Medieval Kitchen Garden and introduced many of our learners to the uncommon vegetable skirret; a root vegetable prized for its sweetness and its ability to add a depth of flavourto a dish. Julie explained that in a Medieval Garden not one inch was left unplanted.

Our learners headed over to the greenhouse where our course leader Joe Bryant then took them on a journey though sowing and planting techniques describing why soil care and condition is so important for the quality of plants produced. The learners sowed seed trays with various seeds such as wild strawberries and chard and watered from the bottom by standing the filled seed trays in shallow water to allow water uptake into the compost from below.

This ensures that the seeds are not disturbed from their bed during watering and preserves the original spacing making the seedlings easier to separate when they’re big enough. Joe then demonstrated the technique of pricking out of some young seedlings in a tray in preparation for sowing in the beds. By separating the young plants from each other they gain the space needed to develop a healthy root system.

Once all the seeds had been planted and the seedlings gathered, it was time to head over to the beds with all the young plants from the greenhouse. Each of the six beds had been resting for a few months so the soil needed a light working over to remove any stray tree debris and to break down the lumps of soil that had formed. Our team of eager learners set to work, and in no time at all the Edible Weed Bed was filled with chamomile, dandelions, marigold, geranium, feverfew and daisy to name but a few. Joe taught the learners about companion planting and how many pests can be managed with this traditional method.

Our learners efficiently filled each of the beds to the plan that the Luke, our Learning Assistant and devisor of the project, had pre drafted. Alongside the Edible Weed Bed, the Medieval Kitchen Garden boasts a Legume Bed - housing young bean and pea plants; a Root Bed–containing direct sown turnips, beetroot, parsnips and skirret, an Onion Bed which was planted with sets, a Brassica Bed accommodating kale, lambs lettuce and futog cabbage and finally a Mixed Bed housing the glut of beetroot and parsnips. Joe was on hand to offer advice and guidance on plant and seed spacing as well as many handy tricks of the trade, and very quickly the six beds of bare earth were transformed!

As the season progresses the Medieval Kitchen Garden is looking more abundant on a weekly basis. Luke, our lovely volunteers and our amazing Grounds team have all been kindly stopping by to lend a hand with watering and a bit of weed pulling.

We hope that you have enjoyed watching the Medieval Kitchen Garden unfold as much as we have here at the abbey. This is just the beginning of the journey for the Medieval Kitchen Garden, and we hope that we can welcome you soon to witness this fantastic community project in all its beautiful glory!

Click here to see more photos on our Photowall!

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Added: 12th June 2017