The kitchen garden and wildflower meadow at Monmouth Comprehensive School

A new school built, acres devoid of biodiversity grassed for playing fields. On a site such as this there is always scope for planting that is good for nature, provides learning opportunities and, incidentally, is good as a flood prevention measure.

Transition Monmouth is grateful to Monmouth Comprehensive School for working with us to develop some of this space.

In 2019 we sowed wildflower seeds on a large open area. Disaster! The seed was contaminated with agricultural clover which is designed to feed cattle and stop anything else from growing. This clover cultivar excels at both and we spent much of 2020 trying to kill it by manually destroying the tap roots. The problem remains but is much reduced and we now have the beginnings of a fine meadow with a good range of wildflowers appropriate for the area. It seems to be appreciated by the pollinators and other wildlife, and also by the public.

Beneath a huge beech tree the planting changes to that appropriate for woodlands – ferns, foxgloves, wild strawberries, wild garlic and much, much more.

In May 2020 we started on the Kitchen Garden. Our aim is to grow a variety of vegetables, herbs, soft fruits and flowers so that the students and the Community can see where their food comes. We will keep it simple so that everyone is inspired to grow at least some of their own – be it a few tomatoes in their garden, or some pots of herbs on their windowsill.

We use the No Dig method. Digging destroys many valuable microorganisms that are vital for good soil health and it releases carbon into the atmosphere. Also, it is back breaking, never ending work. No Dig is organic and relies totally on natural means of feeding the soil with composted green waste – eventually from our own green waste. We have used wood chippings for the paths – another natural waste product which eventually breaks down and it too feeds the soil. Interestingly, both green waste and wood chippings are great weed suppressants!

So yes, each year we will add another layer of green compost to the beds and wood chippings to the paths. Apart from a bit of weeding, and watering during dry periods, that is all that should be required by way of maintenance. Some of the flowers planted in the garden also act as natural pest repellents.

We are grateful to all who have given their time with the initial groundwork, and to those who have donated seeds, plants, compost and chippings to make this great community project for all to share.

Further details from the Transition Monmouth website or Facebook pages Transition Monmouth and Transition Monmouth Chat, phone 01600 715065 or email