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Horticulture Students Gain Practical Experience in College Nursery

Posted on 20th November 2013 in Horticulture

Autumn/Winter is not a quiet time for Horticulturalists. Since returning from their half-term break, our Horticulture students have been hard at work in our Court Lane glasshouses and nursery complex.

Working alongside the Nursery Manager and staff, our students have successfully grown and shipped out Winter bedding contracts to Medway Council, Ashford Council and Dover District Council; in total over 120,000 plants, many of which students have had a hand in producing.  Court Lane will also shortly be supplying some plants for Rochester Bridge Trust.

We continue to grow winter bedding such as cyclamen, pansies and polyanthus for our Broadview Garden Centre and Farm Shop sales, as well as a range of winter shrubs including cornus and mahonia.

Facilities are continually being enhanced at Court Lane, with the introduction of a new propagation and work area dedicated to student use.  It offers a much larger more efficient and quieter area for work, with raised benching providing a better working environment.  This is an ongoing project that will hopefully be finished shortly.

The old propagation area meanwhile, has been dismantled with the aid of many students and Court Lane staff, and will increase the heated capacity for our Garden Centre and contract sales.

Another successful season of tomato trials with Thanet Earth has also been completed, with more new varieties being brought into commercial production. Buyers from Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer have all been to visit to sample the 55 different varieties we have grown.

The last of our late crop of strawberries have been picked and we have supplied the Farm Shop with nearly 500 punnets in October – the main crop will be in the spring.

New stock beds will be planted up in the New Year to replace the existing ones, with an aim to increase the plants available for students to propagate and as a visual attraction on the approach to the main greenhouse block.

Finally, students will shortly be potting up over 1,000 bare root roses for sale in Broadview Garden Centre this coming summer.  These experiences, together with potting on over 1,000 herbaceous plants for next year’s Kent County Show and moving tender stock under cover for the winter, ensures that the practical knowledge the students gain during their course at Hadlow equips them perfectly for a career in production horticulture once they leave.

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