Royal Edinburgh Community Gardens – August Update

Harvest

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In spite of an unsettled, wet, and generally cool Summer, the vegetable gardens have produced fabulous yields in their second full growing season. Our large garden has successfully moved from spuds last year into a classic four-part organic rotation, producing excellent crops of Onions, Garlic, Legumes, Carrots, Beets, Chard and Salads. So soon the garden year moves on; no sooner are the Onions lifted than in go the Spring Cabbage, and in that corner of the plot the rotation already moves into year three.

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Community Gardeners have been able to take plenty of fruit and vegetables home in return for their labour, and some have sampled new tastes, such as spaghetti squash, and florence fennel.

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Fruit Tree Nursery

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Building on hard work earlier in the year, August has seen a flurry of activity in our tree nursery. Many volunteers have been able to have a go at chip-budding, the process by which a fruiting ‘scion’ is grafted to an Apple rootstock. The aim is to produce a tree that combines the growth habit of (in this case), a dwarfing rootstock, while bearing desirable fruit. Varieties were sourced from the Cyrenians Farm orchard in West Lothian, and include Scottish varieties like Cambusnethan Pippin, aswell as a taste of merry England, the Egremont Russet.

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Corporate Challenges

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Tree grafters included volunteers from Lloyds TSB, who sent along three hard-working teams during August to work alongside garden volunteers. Other tasks undertaken included improvements to the path network in the old orchard, and supply and construction of pigeon-proof cages for our Strawberries and Brassicas.

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REH Course

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It has been a pleasure to be involved in a course aimed mainly at Royal Edinburgh Hospital patients. This is a six week introduction to horticulture and volunteering, delivered partly at the community gardens, where participants have been able to learn new skills, and draw on previous gardening experience.

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TES Course

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The Gardens are also currently being used as a venue for a composting course delivered by Greenway consulting on behalf of Transition Edinburgh South. It is hoped that learners will take the knowledge away to other community growing settings transferring the knowledge to an even wider audience.