Ryton Gardens, Garden Organic

Location: Warwickshire

Website: Ryton Gardens, Garden Organic website

There are 20+ gardens or ‘areas’ which are managed on organic principles. These include a biodynamic garden, exotic crop garden, orchard, allotment and bee garden. We have been on this site since 1986 and the gardens have received awards such as the Gardeners World Best Garden in Central England and Growing Schools Garden Award. We are host to a community supported agricultural project called ‘Five Acres’. The trainee would spend some time in charge of this as part of their placement.

The gardens are also home to the Heritage Seed Library, where we work to preserve heritage seed varieties of vegetable seeds. We have glasshouses, polytunnels and seed cleaning and drying facilities and we produce plants commercially for our partners, Webbs, and for use in the garden.

Our team of 7 gardeners have a range of experience and specialisms; these include ornamentals, horticultural therapy, Biodynamic gardening, vegetable production, commercial production, roses, tree pruning and permaculture. As a a national organisation, we have many community projects , these include schools, community growing projects and housing association sites. As part of the placement the trainee will visit some of these during their stay with us.

We also have links with a number of organisations that have formal or informal growing sites will we will arrange at least one visit to depending on the trainees interests. These include Daylesford Organic, Canalside CSA, Le Manoir and Kew Gardens. Trainees will be provided with training and experience in all aspects pf organic horticulture and food production and will be given responsibility for managing individual gardens at Ryton Gardens. The trainee will work in the renowned Heritage Seed Library and contribute to helping to conserve valuable genetic diversity for the nation’s food crops. This will include growing these food crops, saving and storing seed.

Trainees will be encouraged to participate in public events days such as Chilli Day, Get Set Grow and Potato Day. They will also attend external events- in previous years this has included the RHS Chelsea Show, Edible Gardens Show, Gardener’s World Live, plans for 2013-14 are not yet fixed.

The trainee will help maintain seasonal interpretation boards and activity and general and educational engagement activities in the garden. We have a number of different student placements at he garden. people vary in age and experience and length of placement. Whatever, they will all receive seasonally appropriate training in organic horticulture and food production including but not exclusively, planning, propagation, crop-rotations, soil fertility (composting), preparing the ground, organic pest control, gardening for wildlife, planting, watering and maintaining moisture levels, weeding, taking cuttings, harvesting and use of machinery such as mowers, strimmers and hedge cutters.

The trainee will be involved in all staff training programmes. This may include some certified courses if renewal dates coincide with the trainee time with us. We run a series of courses and training sessions and we would encourage the trainee to participate in these as part of their study. Our Ambassadors Alys Fowler and James Wong usually produce talks, lectures and workshops as part of the annual programme and trainees would be welcome to attend.

The trainee will be given a certificate from Garden Organic on the successful completion of their year with us. Organic growing and food production is a growing trend and as such opportunities for future employment will be enhanced by a placement at Ryton Gardens.

Pay: student minimum wage, currently £11,265.80. Entitles to company pension and benefits package after a 3 month probationary period. Staff discount in cafe and shop. Working hours: 9-5 with weekend work included. 25 days annual leave and 8 days statutory public/bank holidays.

We have evidence that students that have been on placements at Ryton Gardens feel they have benefited greatly from the experience. We often received positive feedback about how welcoming the staff are and how the students felt part of a team. We recognise as an organisation the benefits of having students for the organisation and value the contribution that new and diverse people bring.

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