Each year RBGE’s first-year HND/BSc Horticulture students take responsibility for a small plot within the garden. At one end of their plot each student must grow five vegetables (broad beans, peas, beetroot, lettuce and onions) in the remaining area they can grow any fruit, flowers or vegetables they choose. This layout is reversed each year to help avoid soil-borne pests and diseases.
The plots help students develop their gardening skills such as: planning; soil preparation; crop selection; sowing; and on-going plant maintenance; watering, feeding, supporting and protecting crops. They also have to come up with creative designs and solutions to growing in a small space.
Many students give their plots a theme in order to help narrow down their plant options. Some of the themes this year include:
• Heritage vegetables and cereal varieties
• Wildlife friendly plants and structures
• Ornamental vegetables
• Baby and dwarf vegetables
• Healing and culinary herbs
• Colour schemes such as: White cut flowers, butterflies wing colours, African sunset, purple harvests and the Scottish flag
The plots are a great source of inspiration for anyone that wants to grow their own vegetables and flowers. It is worth coming down to the Botanics to see them develop over the course of the year. From bare soil at this time of the year they transform into wonderful productive vibrant plots by midsummer.