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Social Therapeutic Horticulture Update – February 2024

Our Social Therapeutic Horticulture lead, Jane, tell us what the groups have been working on throughout February.

What we’ve been up to in the STH poly tunnel

It has been a wet and grey few months so we have been concentrating on getting the tunnel weeded and on some further craft activities – such as using the lavender seed heads saved from the summer to make small lavender bags with participants to take home. Happily we have also begun sowing seeds for the season ahead including tomatoes and peppers which are sitting on our heated prop bench. The tomatoes have emerged but the peppers are a little more reluctant as usual.
Working with the education team we have been sowing some coriander and nigella, some calendula and peas. These will be used for the poppies and sunflowers as well as the school visits. Some peas have been sown for shoots, and we are just starting to sow flowers for cutting and drying – including statice and snapdragons. Sweet peas that had been sown in root trainers in the tunnel have now been planted, and we have also sown and pricked out lettuce for inside the tunnel. The ammi and stocks that were sown in Autumn have been potted on.
Some of our participants especially enjoyed harvesting leeks to take home from our raised beds since they had planted them in late summer once the bed was finished.

And outside…

We have used the colder weather before the season gets going to weed the paths and put fresh woodchip down around the outside Social Therapeutic Horticulture beds. Wood chip is a great resource since it boosts the fungal diversity of the soil. We were careful to leave a strip of nettles by the hedge for wildlife and also harvesting nettle tips.
We are looking forward to sunnier days and once the land was drained a little will get on with the task of cleaning the outside of the tunnel cover to allow good light penetration.

What is Social Therapeutic Horticulture?

Social Therapeutic Horticulture is the process of using plants and gardens to improve physical and mental health, as well as communication and thinking skills. It also uses the garden as a safe and secure place to develop someone’s ability to mix socially, make friends and learn practical skills that will help them to be more independent. (Thrive)