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
13th March

This week we have managed to use up all of the lovely woodchips from New Forest Energy. They are filling wet muddy patches around the garden and a deep path between most of the vegetable beds. These paths will not compact the soil, can be walked on when wet, will retain moisture between veg beds and slowly rot, feeding the soil over time.

The peas sowed in drainpipes a couple of weeks ago are now peeking through, adding a vibrant green to the greenhouse.

In the polytunnel the winter salads are exploding with life. Self seeded claytonia (winter purslane) has been weeded from amongst the salad and used as a mulch, returning all its goodness to the soil whilst reducing evaporation and weed growth.

Kate Chapman
7th March 2018

Yesterday we sowed almost 200 lettuces using old seed as an experiment – let’s see what germinates! We also made a visit to our neighbours, the spectacular Furzey Gardens, for some inspiration and resource sharing. Today two of our faithful  volunteers have been helping to clear the beds in front of our new greenhouse, ready for cultivation.

Kate Chapman
5th March 2018

The compost has arrived! We have chosen to steer away from any peat based products out of respect for our endangered boglands. Instead we are working with coir from Fertile Fibre and mixing in many secret ingredients to produce the best growing medium.

Kate Chapman
1st March 2018

Snow comes to Minstead! All work on the garden stops as everything is covered in a thick layer of snow.....

Kate Chapman
22nd February 2018

The children from Freemantle academy are busy building compost heaps in the garden. David has finished pruning the soft fruit bushes and the terraces on the North bed are finished and ready for their Spring planting.

Kate Chapman
20th February 2018

The Rot Zone is completely flooded after a wet half term. We will get it ready for action with a fresh layer of woodchips from New Forest Energy.

Kate Chapman
7th February

A cold night with a dusting of snow, our volunteers are wrapped up warm finishing the new raised beds. There’s still plenty of Winter salad to spice up the children's sandwich making. Tomorrow we will move to sautéed sprout tops for their greens.

Kate Chapman