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Beans and Saxons!


We were very happy to join Year Five pupils at St Mary’s Catholic school in Gillingham for a lesson about Anglo Saxons and the food they would have eaten.  Anglo Saxons did not have all the vegetables we have today but they did eat peas, beans, parsnips, turnips, leeks, onions and garlic.

Then the pupils went outside to St Mary’s lovely raised beds to see if they could grow some peas and beans themselves.

We talked about why it is harder for plants to grow in the winter with cold weather, frost and short day length.

Then we looked at the soil and decided we needed to take the weeds out first to give the beans a chance to grow. Then pupils took it in turns to make holes with a dibber and sow broad beans. These tough beans will start to grow through the winter and give a crop of tasty beans early next summer.

Then we talked about what happens inside a composter – just as people need food, plants do as well and compost is the best food for plants!

We had a look in the school composters and put in the weeds we have just taken out of the raised beds. They will slowly rot down and help make compost.

After that we sowed some dried peas for pea shoots, which can grow indoors and are delicious to eat.

Thanks for having us, St Mary’s! We hope to see you again soon.

Sowing peas

One pupils wrote: “For our gardening session, Liza came in and told us about what we were going to plant.  She told us it was green beans and peas, because the Anglo-Saxons ate them.  First, we dug out any sticks and leaves left in the compost.  We were told about how compost was made.  Then, we planted the seeds.  We enjoyed the session very much and we couldn’t wait for the next session!”

Master Gardeners are volunteers who help Medway schools, workplaces and residential homes start growing their own food. If you would like a Master Gardener to visit, please get in touch with Liza here

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