This post is written by Seth Nolan-McDonough, a first year studying Psychology, Social Anthropology, and Ancient History. Seth has been a keen garden volunteer, spoiling us with different species of chilies, and helps with general Transition publicity.
As the days get shorter and the cold sets in, we unfortunately no longer have the delicious tomatoes, courgettes and other summer vegetables that we enjoyed at the start of the semester. However, the gardens are not empty! There are many equally tasty winter vegetables ready to harvest; personally, I had never heard of scorzonera until last week. Why not try something new?
The Community Garden is a hidden gem in St Andrews – tucked away between sports pitches and the Observatory, you wouldn’t know it was there if you weren’t looking for it! Recently, the gardening team from the University Garden have joined us and we now have quite a large group every Wednesday from 14.00 – 16.00, often rounding off a session with a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate and a few biscuits whilst reflecting on a hard day’s work. If you would like to join us, continue out of St Andrews past the Sports Centre in the direction of Fife Park and take the first right past the roundabout that joins Hepburn Gardens and Buchanan Gardens. If you live in Fife Park or DRA, the Community Garden is practically on your doorstep!
This week we harvested golden beetroot, salsify, scorzonera, purple potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes (aka sunchokes). For a twist on the traditional British winter meal, Jerusalem artichokes make an excellent substitute for potatoes in ‘bangers and gas’ – you’ll get the name if you eat them! Next week we should have brussels sprouts, which are delicious roasted with balsamic vinegar.
At the Botanic Garden we have a Winter Salad Station in the greenhouse, with a number of salad greens including spinach, lettuce and chard. If you’re feeling a bit cold to eat salad, did you know that lettuce can be used in stir-fry in place of, or alongside, pak choi or cabbage? Or why not go Italian and make spinach and ricotta cannelloni to warm up after a day out in the cold? Join us every Wednesday and Sunday from 12.00 – 14.00 for sessions at the Botanic Garden.
The gardens require preparation for the winter; in the past few weeks we have been mulching the beds with compost, grass, leaves and straw. It would be great to have more helping hands with the winter preparation – the plants will appreciate it too! The exams are coming up, but sometimes it can be beneficial to studying to take a break and do something relaxing amongst nature and a great group of people.
Don’t forget that we still have lots of vegetables, including some hot chilli peppers, available at the Transition office near East Sands (7 Woodburn Place).