On Saturday 30th November at Newbridge Nurseries a special Grow it Cook It Eat It event was held for schools in the Horsham area.
Nigel Wait very kindly prepared the poly tunnel of his allotment project for demonstrations by Jean Griffin of BBC Sussex and Barry Newman the Chair of the National Vegetable Society.
Both Barry and Jean are passionate about encouraging schools to grow more.
Several schools attended from the local area including Trafalgar who won this year’s Horsham In Bloom Competition, Picnic Time.
The purpose of the get together was to show how easy it is to grow a variety of vegetables from seed and to hear from Nigel about his first year in having an allotment on site which provides food for his new restaurant. He is keen to use this allotment as an educational resource.
We also hope that schools can commemorate the First World War next year by making good use of their land to grow vegetables.
Jean and Barry discussed and demonstrated the many aspect of how to sow seeds, onions, garlic and shallots.
How to plant cuttings and how to ‘pot on’. It was all most informative. Young Matthew from Warnham school enjoyed being involved.
At question time Liz Timmer, Vice Chair of Horsham In Bloom asked Nigel what he had grown in the past year that had been a success. He said that he had grown 275 tomato plants which had grown extremely but that next year he would plant 200/220 and give them more room.
The cucumbers were a great success and he said he would definitely grow more next year particularly the smooth skinned variety which is preferred in the restaurant.
Of these two crops it was said that one likes humidity and the other likes dry; tomatoes grow better in glass than plastic.
It was suggested to Nigel that as these crops were to be grown in the polytunnel area that they could be grown in separate sides of his indoor area with a thermal screen in between and a semi permeable membrane on the ground to provide the two different ‘climates’.
Aubergines and peppers were also a great success in Nigel’s allotment and various varieties of lettuce which was much in use by the restaurant.
How many restaurants can you go to where the food is grown just a few metres away?
In the outside area Nigel planted broad beans, peas, beetroot and sugar snaps all of which grew very well. ‘The broad beans were fantastic’. He avoided growing brassicas because there could have been a problem with pigeons and the squash and French Beans were not such a success.
Nigel is going to organise morning and evening events to show what is going on in his allotment and will run another special event for schools.
Many tips from this Grow it Cook it Eat It event will be posted on the Horsham In Bloom website www.horshaminbloom.org.uk
The main tip from Barry and Jean at the moment is ‘get your manure spread on top of your allotment before Christmas’ Cover with weed fabric and leave to mature so the worms work their way through.
Happy Gardening to one and all!
Report and picture submitted by Horsham in Bloom.