27th June 2018

A scorching Mid summer week in the  Minstead garden. Everything is growing abundantly. The school children are picking our fresh peas as a mid morning healthy snack.

The rainbow chard is going down well as an accompaniment to our lovely sausages and mash and the plentiful salad leaves are a vital part of their first picnic in the woods.

Kate Chapman
11th June 2018

The project is moving along and developing into a stunning, educational exemplar of organic gardening.

The polytunnel & greenhouse are full to the brim with tomatoes and other delicious things!

We have a range of salad leaves growing across the site offering the children a chance to enjoy the taste of Summer.

The peas have reached dramatic heights & carry an impressive number of pods. An instant healthy snack.


The BBC have been round filming the garden this afternoon to advertise our big B’Earthday on 14th July 12.30 to 4.30pm.

Kate Chapman
27th April 2018

Persistent rain today – although there were claims that we did see the sun for a few seconds. Fiddlers Estate delivered a second load of seedlings including sweetcorn, perpetual spinach, golden beetroot and courgettes. We planted out golden beetroot in the rain and potted up sweetcorn and courgettes in the rain.

To keep a bit drier, it also seemed a good time to construct some hanging shelves in the greenhouse.

Kate Chapman
25th April 2018

The plants in the greenhouse survived the weekend and the temperature has calmed down considerably. Lots more sowing this week including some flowers, squashes, herbs and some close relatives of the exploding cucumber! We also sowed cucamelons – a vine with fruit that look like watermelons but are the size of grapes and taste like zingy cucumbers…

The volunteers helped us plant out a bed of rainbow chard, a bed of salad and sow a bed of radishes and beetroot.

Kate Chapman
19th April 2018

Lots of sowing this week including sunflowers, ‘dazzling blue’ kale, perpetual spinach, the second bed of carrots and the third round of peas. We harvested some wonderful purple sprouting broccoli for tonight’s dinner.

On Wednesday the unexpectedly warm (hot!) weather began. The volunteers helped us dig through and prepare the large bed next to the greenhouse ready for planting up soon. We were pleased to find the blinds on the new greenhouse and pulled them down to give the seedlings some relief!

Yesterday was even warmer with the greenhouse pushing 36 degrees - a big change from the snow less than a month ago..! We’ve put all of the young plants in trays of water, hoping they’ll survive a weekend in the heat.

Kate Chapman
11th April 2018

We planted out a bed of ‘early oakleaf’ lettuces in the polytunnel and sowed a patch of radishes direct today. We also started weeding the fruit cage again – a lot of weeds fighting back since we were in there a few weeks ago!

Kate Chapman
6th April 2018

Today we were treated to some sunshine and warmth and took the opportunity to plant all of our many, many potatoes – the children can eat a lot of them throughout the year! We also planted out a couple of hundred onions and the first drainpipes of peas, at the base of what will be the pea tunnel. The next round of peas were sown straight away.

Fiddlers Estate are kindly germinating some of our plants with their heated greenhouse and they delivered the first seedlings today. Some lovely spring onions and salad leaves.

Kate Chapman
4th April 2018

Earlier this week we sowed our first bed of carrots direct. We covered them with fleece to keep them damp and slightly warmer. A batch of broad beans started in the greenhouse have also gone out. We also built a few sweet pea towers and planted a couple of plants at the base of each pole.

There were no volunteers today – they were all enjoying the Easter break!

Kate Chapman
28th March 2018

Too wet for volunteers today! We have still been out in the rain constructing a tunnel for our ‘Champion of England’ climbing peas to climb up. The children will enjoy picking fresh peas as they walk through the tunnel of green!

We have also sowed mustard as a quick-growing green manure over many of the veg beds. This will reduce weed growth as the soil warms up. When we come to plant vegetables into the beds, we will incorporate the mustard plants into the soil, increasing the organic matter in the soil.

Kate Chapman
21st March 2018

We were surprised by snow again over the weekend and the garden seems to be in shock from the chilly weather! We continue sowing into the greenhouse (bringing seedlings into the classroom overnight when frost is expected). This week we are sowing kohlrabi, spring onions, leeks and turnips.

To make our peat free compost we use a 5kg bale of dried organic coconut coir which is soaked in a couple of buckets of water until fluffy. We then add organic and vegan slow-release nutrients along with a helping of vermiculite (for improved water and nutrient retention). The final ingredients are mycorrhizae and bacteria mixes which we hope will form beneficial relationships with our plants and make them nice and healthy!

Kate Chapman