Pots of noodle

Anne Gunning has a mix of beginners and old hands attending her weekly training course

A regular community gardening session, first thing on a Monday gives my week a good kick start.  

Wigan and Leigh community group

I'm running a 10-week training course for local people and tenants from Wigan and Leigh Homes, a social housing provider. Keeping 17 people interested and active for two hours is quite a challenge as one allotment is just about to be built and the other is so well-kept, the weed-free beds are just waiting to receive seeds and there are no little jobs to do around the site. 

Travelling shed
Identifying herbs without peekingMy shed on wheels has therefore been laden with pots and compost for seed sowing, pots of herbs for identification and onion sets for starting off  in containers. Once all these have germinated we won’t be able to keep up with the pricking out, potting on and maintenance and I am looking forward to that.

The housing association was quoted £3,000 for doing a detailed soil contamination test across the new site so they have opted for raised beds and imported soil.

Two way street
Seed sowing by the travelling shedThe people who attend are a friendly bunch with a range of knowledge from beginners to expert giant vegetable growers so I am learning things too. The best thing about horticulture is that there is always more to learn and gardeners are very generous with their hints and tips.  This keeps me enthused too.  For example, Ray sows his tomatoes in pot noodle pots, half-filled with compost. As they germinate and grow he ‘earths’ them up to promote additional root growth. When the pot is full of compost he repots each plant. They already have strong root growth compared to those grown by the usual pricking out method.

Les's potato masterclassLast week Les was put forward by his friends as the best potato grower at the allotment so he gave the group a master class on potato growing.  It’s this kind of information that you can’t find on google.

So it’s not about me doing everything for the two hour session, it’s about everyone sharing their skills and knowledge. The hardest job will be if I hear someone giving wrong advice – but I'll have handle it in a kind, green-fingered way –  although somehow I can’t see this happening with the expertise on offer in this group.

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