When we started working on the ‘Green Dragon project’ back in 2010, the first thing we wanted to do was get growing!
The walled garden has been created from the outside walls of an old agricultural barn. Within the walls are the greenhouse/classroom and potting shed that are partly constructed from recycled wood and glass. So we can provide light and power to the buildings there’s a stand-alone photo-voltaic system – for more about renewables go to Eco Centre.
‘Farm to Fork’
We use all our homegrown fruit and veg in the Eco cafe with a little for sale in the shop when there’s a surplus. Our seasonal menu is freshly prepared and our Catering Manager can often be seen in the Walled Garden selecting his ingredients for lunch time! Of course, the supply of homegrown fruit and veg is limited at the moment but future plans are to extend our food production by creating an allotment area with poly tunnels.
Our fruit and veg production is always an integral part of an Educational Visit and we have already had several school visits that have included sowing or harvesting.
Heritage Fruit & Veg
A lot of the fruit and vegetables we grow in the walled garden are Heritage varieties , such as Rhubarb Victoria (1837), Courgette White Serpent and Beetroot Dobbie’s Purple (early 1900s). By growing heritage varieties, we aim to conserve varieties that are not widely available and try to save as much seed as possible.
For the last two years we’ve been running a Programme of Fruit Growing Workshops on grafting, budding and pruning throughout the year. This is something we’d like to build on, extending it to include vegetable growing, soil conditioning and composting.
Thanks to one of our volunteers, we now have a small Aquaponics System in the greenhouse. Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (soil-less plant culture) brought together in a re-circulating closed system (water tank), using water instead of potting mixes. This small display gives visitors an insight into growing food on a small scale using the fish fertiliser as feed for the plants.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org, if you’re interested in voluntary work in the garden.