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Spring has sprung, the fruit trees are in blossom and the gardens are full of life!  There has been a lot of activity in the 9 growing spaces transition supports.

The Community Garden (our most established garden), is continuing to develop the forest garden, with lots of rhubarb and soft fruit bushes planted last month.  We have been harvesting sprouting broccoli, lettuce, mint and Jerusalem artichokes; as well as wild foods such as nettles, ground elder and rosebay willow herb.  During On The Rocks Arts Festival, we held an afternoon of acoustic music and drawing in the garden, and we continue to run weekly sessions on Wednesday afternoons.

The Albany Park garden is making great progress – it’s hard to believe that it’s only a year old!  New additions include the compost bins and lovely new shed; seeds are being raised on numerous windowsills, and tons of spuds have been planted.  The students at University Hall have done a huge amount of work this year.  Back in the day, this site was a productive garden and they are now doing a fantastic job at restoring this grassy space into a vegetable patch, including creating a herb spiral, biodiversity tower and fruit bed.

Gannochy House are growing food for the first time: raspberries and rhubarb have been planted, beds have been cleared and they are now ready to plant herbs, salads and leafy green vegetables.  Nearby at St Gregory’s, raised bed planters were built with the help of the St Andrews Fellowship.  Using reclaimed wood and pallets, these have now been given a beautiful paint job and the first planter has been filled with strawberries and chives.  John Burnet Hall has a lovely sheltered garden which the students have prepared some of the beds and planted with potatoes, herbs and fruit – with more to follow.  We also support the growing of fruit and vegetables in raised beds at the Computer Science and English departments and the Scottish Oceans Institute.

This year we have been given the use of a large greenhouse at the Botanic Gardens.  Shared with St Andrews in Bloom, we are using this space for raising seedlings and growing plants such as tomatoes, chillies and aubergines.  This is a great opportunity, not only to expand our range and growing season, but also to see what goes on behind the scenes at the Botanics – including the plant pot washing!  We have also been sowing seeds at Andrew Melville on Friday lunchtimes, and there are now more than 40 trays of seeds growing away in the double glazed windows – these will all be distributed amongst the gardens in the coming weeks.

These gardens are open to all students, staff and community members – to plant, grow, harvest and most importantly to enjoy!  If you would like to get involved, or to find out more, please get in touch!  Weekly sessions are held in the Botanic Gardens on Wednesdays from 12.30-1.30pm; the Community Garden and Albany Park on Wednesdays from 2-4pm; John Burnet on a Thursday 12.30-1.30pm; and Andrew Mellville on Friday 12.30-1.30pm.