Eyes down for a full house – Medway Master Gardeners enjoyed a lively game of salad leaf bingo at their winter in-service training day on Saturday 17th January.
They had to match the right name and the right leaf to each picture. With a lot of discussion and a lot of nibbling of leaves – they finally ended up with a full house – or full salad bowl.
The exercise was part of a day-long workshop on what to grow in the colder months, led by Garden Organic’s Anton Rosenfeld. We met at the Sunlight Centre in Gillingham, and after a rainy start we had the best of a chilly but sunny day.
Nearly 20 Master Gardeners, the growers they support and some public health colleagues enjoyed learning about polytunnels, cloches and greenhouses, and how to use them for best effect.
What varieties are best suited to winter growing, and which give an early or late crop and clever ways around the Hungry Gap were also discussed.
After a break for tea we heard about perennial crops like African kale, rhubarb and asparagus which crop when not much else is around. Master Gardeners also learned how to speed up the season with early sowings of chard, spinach and lettuce indoors in January, transplanted out in March under fleece, giving a harvest as early as May.
The it was outside and up to the lovely High Hopes Community Garden to have a go at putting fleece on a home-made cloche. Under Anton’s expert guidance Master Gardeners hammered away, attaching batons and wrapping fleece around to make a snug tunnel.
After a warming lunch of chickpea and pepper curry, rice and nan, we had a cookery demonstration from Jon Finnis who came from, Commonwork, at Bore Place Farm, Edenbridge to show us how to make an Ethiopian wat, or spicy vegetable stew.
Once you had the spice paste, made from cardamon seeds, ginger, turmeric, chilli and more, this stew can be made out of our own winter vegetables like potatoes, kale and carrots. While the stew was cooking some of our younger growers got down to kneading dough and rolling out chapattis. There was soon quite a production line going with Master Gardener Oscar at the end, cooking the chapattis in a pan and passing them round to dip into the wat.
The day was a much enjoyed:
“Really enjoyed the training, nice to see people and the cookery demo added a new dimension”
“Thanks for a great training day”
“Thank you for the varied and informative session”“Thank you for another lovely day with such a lot of things to do and to see and to Anton for all his veggie information”“Thanks for organising a lovely day yesterday, really enjoyed it”“Thank you for a great day today, we really enjoyed ourselves. I thought everyone was very friendly and you made us feel very welcome”“Met expectations very well. Left with new ideas and feeling inspired”“Great as ever – expectations exceeded”“Exceeded my expectations. Cooking demo was excellent”“Met my expectations – exceeded them in the cookery demo”