Monday, 3rd May 2021
About 10 years ago I unexpectedly ended up with an allotment to care for. It was only for a year… I still have it! In lockdown going in and having a potter has kept me sane.
So I have learnt a little (although a lot I don’t know) about growing your own. It can be very satisfying; It teaches you about the seasons, patience and gives you lovely things to eat! And you know what you have grown them in, I personally garden organically, the flavour is different in my opinion.
But you do have successes, some not so good results, gluts etc… BUT respect to farmers everywhere. If my sprouts are not much cop I can always buy some – I won’t starve!
But to start you don’t need much space – pots are good for lettuce, radishes, hanging baskets for types of tomato and strawberries, potatoes can be grown in lots of things. They need a deep container/bag – compost bags inside out, old plastic dustbins (make some holes for drainage).
Having to care for your plants gets you outside, you work with the weather (it has helped me in the last few years with the Winter blues). You see nature – at college rabbits, many different birds and the odd deer. At my allotment site one plotholder has had a Robin lay eggs on his!
In other countries vegetables, fruit and flowers are grown together as they can look very attractive – types of climbing bean have purple flowers and pods for instance. These gardens are called potagers in France, our old cottage gardens are similar.
As a department (Catering) we have been thinking about trying to grow some of the more specialist ingredients on site and members of the team have begun to start seeds in an area behind the classrooms. This will include edible flowers, herbs and vegetables, maybe some fruit.
We are hoping that learners will be able to get involved to – a farm to fork approach. And a few extra flowers to brighten everyone’s day around the campus at Weybridge!
– Sue, Hospitality & Catering lecturer