Meet the Saughton Friday Crew
2020 and Charlotte and Max had been hoping to get properly stuck in to working in the teaching garden and growing things in the raised beds at Saughton Park walled garden with Colin and Pam. But March 2020 and COViD19 put an end to that. Over a cup of coffee Charlotte and Max could think of only one thing…
What will happen with Saughton?! The garden was closed.
Weeks went by and we wondered what was happening to our beloved soil as it was newly installed. Would we return to a spring meadow or an overnight new woodland?
Obviously not a woodland, but when The Caley was eventually allowed to return, we found beautiful red poppies blooming along with a considerable amount of dock!
As lockdown restrictions began to be relaxed we slowly managed to increase the number of regular members of the crew; Stan on Fridays, Julie on Mondays and other more local members such as Sarah and Shona, all rigorously sticking to the government guidelines.
Storytelling aside, our collective capacity, to fully develop the teaching and the Bistro beds at Saughton in 2020 was significantly limited. By the time the first lockdown was alleviated, we had neither the time nor capacity to improve the soil quality ahead of the planting season.
Even without soil tests, our VERY poor harvest in the early autumn showed clear signs of possible soil nutrient deficiency and the need to improve the soil condition for the next season.
Nevertheless we did sow salad crops in the Bistro bed, three short rows of young leeks and half a dozen winter brassica under a tunnel of enviromesh to prevent pesky nibblers. Sadly, these did not provide an impressive harvest.
Fast forward to Jan 2021
With the advent of the second lockdown, came the initial fears of another year’s lost food production and Max and Charlotte wondering if they would be prevented from volunteering at Saughton and if not, in what capacity could they work on site? Plus complying with Scottish Government COVID regulations, meant any volunteers outside the City of Edinburgh were unable to travel into the gardens (so no more bacon rolls for them for Pam and Colin for a while!).
However, fear not! Charlotte and Max returned to Saughton, as soon as the elements allowed, and they have already begun to prepare for the growing season ahead. (They even lifted the snow covered plunged pots for the people who had plunged their spring show pots at Saughton!)
But their passion and enthusiasm and commitment is catching as we now have a regular Friday crew of students. There is now a crew of five keen students – all as Max and Charlotte will tell you, “enthusiastic and ready to get their wellies muddy” on a Friday morning.
So welcome to the Friday crew: Mar, Kristyna, Max, Charlotte, and Graham. They are all student members of The Caley, studying horticulture, food production and nature-based courses in Edinburgh. On top of this, they all love trying new things and learning about how best they can get involved with the natural world.