Top Chef Backs School Gardens

Celebrity chef Raymond Blanc recently spent the morning to formally open new cookery facilities at Charlton Manor School, South East London. Mr Blanc gave a cookery master class and visited the school’s vegetable garden.

Raymond was delighted to find that the school were growing chicory, winter salad and garden peas in the garden, using 8kg compost bags in the depths of winter.

Chicory is an ideal crop for school gardens, as it is sown in April out in open soil. This engages youngsters in an outdoor setting. The seedlings need to be thinned to stand 5 to 7cm apart in rows 30 cm apart. They can be left to grow throughout the summer.

When the youngsters return from their summer break, the roots can be lifted, stored in moist sand or soil, and then potted up every week in a dark and warm area. This will provide a consistent flow of fresh chicons.

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