Grow and learn

Gardening is therapeutic for those with learning disabilities, says Poppy Fishman.

“It’s satisfying to see plants grow and to learn to tend them. Students are very inquisitive,” says Kisharon Langdon’s Horticulture Team Leader who heads the growing project at the vegetable garden at Childs Hill Library.

Onions, shallots and garlic which have overwintered in the beds are ready to be harvested soon and more crops like broad beans have just been planted.

In her one session a week at Kisharon Langdon, Poppy oversees a project which produces a wide variety of fruit and vegetables in six small beds and three troughs. Its success though relies on strict daily watering duties during the growing season.

Raspberries, artichokes, lavender, beetroot and herbs are just some of the produce grown, which is either cooked and eaten by the students or enjoyed by grateful staff.

Students work hard at the garden all year round creating new beds, adding compost and dividing plants but on bitterly cold days this winter they built a bug hotel to attract insects and visited a garden centre to choose crops for the year ahead.

Work to repair a polytunnel destroyed in a winter storm has been completed in time for the spring season at Kisharon Langdon’s gardening project in Manchester.

“The main aim for this spring is to teach what combination of plants complement each other to grow and thrive,” said Lee Clegg Community Activity Link Worker.

Sow, Grow and Cook, a new project, teaches students how to sow and  maintain vegetables and herbs to produce crops that can be used for cooking, encouraging them to have a healthy and balanced diet.

At Manchester there are other mouths to feed too – a resident tortoise named Squirtle after the turtle in the Pokemon video games –  and rabbits.

Lee adds: “We do focus on plants that the rabbits and our tortoise can eat and also wildflowers that attract insects and bees.”

Other news stories