The other dig at the dock

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man in vegetable garden in Albert Dock

Brian Jones in the wartime garden at the Piermaster's House

We've already brought you news on the archaeological dig at the former Manchester Dock. However, did you know about a much smaller dig at the Piermaster's House, nearby in the Albert Dock?

Museum staff planted a vegetable garden at the front of the Piermaster's House a few years ago, to complement the wartime theme of the displays inside. The garden shows the sorts of vegetables that people would have grown themselves to ensure a healthy diet when food was scarce during the Second World War and during the years afterwards, when strict rationing was still in place.

The garden is still maintained by green fingered museum attendant Brian Jones, with help from some ladybirds on pest control duty. Despite difficult conditions in the exposed location with salty air blown in from the mouth of the river, he has produced a bumper crop each year. Last year there was enough to cook a large pan of scouse for the attendants at the end of the summer.

Brian showed me how this year's plants were doing this morning. I was surprised at just how much was growing in such a small space, including rhubarb, tomatoes, strawberries, parsley, potatoes, carrots, onions, runner beans, lettuce, peas, some rather large leeks, plus a bed of herbs. You can see more photos of the garden in a Flickr slideshow.

If you are a keen local gardener and would be interested in helping out as a volunteer at the Piermaster's House garden, we would like to hear from you. Email the Museum of Liverpool team (who look after the Piermaster's House) for further information.

There are also some handy hints on creating a wildlife friendly garden from the experts at World Museum Liverpool's Bug House.