A lesson in horticulture
At the end of the Order Beds, the Kew Guild Student Vegetable Plots are looking deliciously abundant.
05 Jul 2010
Student vegetable plots (Image: Catherine Rutherford, RBG Kew)
As part of the three-year Kew Diploma, first year students have to cultivate and manage a vegetable plot. The plots were moved in 2008 to luxurious new premises sponsored by the Kew Guild, using a bequest from Stella Ross-Craig, situated next to the School of Horticulture. They are of reasonable size (8 m x 1.8 m) and tools, organic matter and seeds (sponsored by Thompson & Morgan) are provided. Each student has to grow a range of 15 compulsory vegetable crops, accompanied by a choice of an extra two vegetable crops of the student's own choice and two choices of cut flowers and/or companion plants.
Marks are given for seed bed preparation, utilisation of space, succession / results, appearance, and weed, pest and disease control. At this time of year they are reaping the rewards of their hard work, and the surplus is sold to Kew staff to fund study trips abroad.
Apple, cherry, apricot gage pear and plum trees have been trained as fans against the walls and as step-overs around the beds. These are to show the students how plant hormones can be managed to stimulate fruiting and restrict tree size. As you can see, the amount of fruit certainly does not depend on the size of the tree!
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