Review of the Year
We hope this newsletter finds you fit and healthy and as Winter approaches we thought this would be a good time to have a look at what we were able to do this year and what our plans are for next year.
The lockdown in March couldn’t have come at a worse time for us as we would normally be hosting our giveaway events. With over 700kg of seed potatoes ready to be given out we had to look at creative ways to manage this year’s distributions. We made deliveries to over 100 schools and community groups, and did manage to get stock out to allotmenteers in the North East thanks to the help of folk at Aden & Peterhead Allotments, but sadly it was hard to get out to individuals. Camphill were able to take the residual balance of our seed potatoes and it was great that they could get those planted and growing.
Our feedback from those that did grow was that it was a pretty good year for potatoes, with a lot of positives about the Kestrels and Arran Pilots in particular. It is always good to hear about what grew well when we make our decisions about what to buy for the following season – those will be on our list!
We post photos of how (y)our crops are doing on our Facebook page and website, so check them out for more information.
We estimate that there has now been over 28,000kg of produce grown locally as a result of our project.
BBC Beechgrove and the Shoebox Garden Competition
We were keen to think of a way to keep children active during the prolonged period of them being out of school, so the response to our Shoebox Garden competition was fantastic. We had run it the previous year, but this year we had entries from all over Scotland and our Facebook page views for it were almost 20,000! Congratulations to everyone who took part – it was a very difficult decision to come up with the winners – and thanks to the BBC for featuring it on Beechgrove. We thought that the children presenting videos of their gardens were superb! Here is a link to that programme https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000lrlm/beechgrove-2020-episode-18
We will be running this again in 2021 and we hope that we can have even more children taking part. Watch out for more details in future newsletters.
We were delighted to become partners with two groups this year. Keep Growing Aberdeen looked for ways to get families growing and sharing seeds and seedlings during the pandemic by providing them with kits to get started, and as a group we managed to get over 260 kits out to people throughout the city. With fellow partners CFine, ACHSCP and Tullos Community Garden we hope to be able to build on the success of this next year. There were lots of positives about the project and once the evaluation report is completed we will share this with you.
It was also great for us to become a partner in the Countryside Classroom. This is aimed more at our Garden School activities but gives us the ability to access lots of resources for teachers and hopefully get more people engaged with our school educational programme. We are adding schools all of the time so if you are an educator and want more information about this free resource please send us an email
We were also honoured to be chosen as the exemplar of community engagement working by the University of Aberdeen as part of their Vision 2040, and to meet up with MSPs at Holyrood in February. We have also received 2 motions from the Scottish Parliament congratulating OSF on our work.
We hope that with the arrival of vaccines against Covid we will all start to get back to some form of normality later next year. We are making plans already, and aim to be holding socially distanced give away events in the Spring so we can give out seed potatoes to families and individuals as well as schools and communities. Look out for announcements in our next newsletter! We are still looking for additional places to do this in Aberdeenshire, so if you have any thoughts please get in touch.
We are also keen to extend our help to communities by giving away free seeds as well as advice our support. Our volunteer list is growing too but there is always room for more, so if you would like to be involved in our community growing initiative, send us a message on our Facebook page or email us at email@example.com
Take care, stay safe and happy growing
All @ OSF
Today we launch our monthly newsletters to support the OSF Garden Schools programme. These contain useful links for educators to a range of materials and resources that will support increased outdoor learning at your school, and develop your skills.
You can subscribe to our emails by following this link https://mailchi.mp/82ae89bda43c/garden-school-subscribers
2020 SHOEBOX GARDEN COMPETITION
Today we launch our new children’s competition and we want everyone to take part!
We would like your children, school pupils etc to individually create a garden in a shoebox. You can be as creative as you like, you can build it around a theme – rock garden, bee friendly, herb garden, sensory and so on. It’s all about getting growing!
The winner will receive a gardening voucher of £20.
And if you are having trouble in finding seeds to get started then get in touch by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, we may be able to help.
Here is a photo of last year’s winner Annabelle’s garden. Good luck!
It was a beautiful sunny day in Aberdeen today so ideal time to pot on some of our seedlings. We made compostable pots out of paper – we have a paper potter but you can do the same by wrapping a length of paper around a small bottle or jar then folding one end of it to make a base. Great thing is we can put these directly into our plot once they are a bit bigger, so we don’t disturb the roots. You can use the inside of a loo roll as well to make a compostable pot for your seeds and seedlings.
We were looking for some activities that could be done at home with the kids to keep them engaged with growing and found this on the Rural Sprout website. Here are a couple of links that we think have easy ideas for all the family to try.
Unfortunately Seedy Sunday at Aden Country Park, Mintlaw, on March 15 has been cancelled. The status of other events we are due to attend are under review and we will take advice from the organisers as to whether these go ahead or not.
Thanks for your understanding and take care!
Details of another two varieties of seed potatoes that we have on order this season. Both first earlies, Maris Bard and Casablanca are proven favourites for us with good yields and flavour.
Maris Bard has cream skin and white flesh that is great for boiling, chipping and salads.
Casablanca has white skin and flesh, and can be boiled, mashed, roasted and chipped. A real all rounder!
Check out the events page to see where you can pick up our FREE seed potatoes. We are giving these away from March onwards for individuals, families, schools and community groups – so get involved and get growing!
The Growing Season gets going!
It’s that time of the year when thoughts turn to Springtime and deciding what to grow. We have been looking at the seed catalogues and been placing orders so we are ready to give away lots of stock at our upcoming events. See the list below of all the places we will be in the next few weeks. We have also moved our community allotment to another site and this month we will putting up a polytunnel with our fellow allotmenteers. We will be posting photos of our new plot onto our Facebook page and website soon.
Thursday March 12th 19.30 – 20.30 Friends of Cruickshank Gardens, Zoology Building, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen
Bob will be talking about Community Growing in Aberdeen City and Shire, discussing some of the initiatives in the region and the benefits of food growing to your health and wellbeing. We will be creating a community on the evening by giving away a bag of free seed potatoes to every attendee.
Sunday March 15th, 11.00 – 15.30 Seedy Sunday, Aden Country Park, Mintlaw
Saturday March 29th 11.00 – 15.00 Green Family Fun Day, Hazlehead Park, Aberdeen
Saturday April 4th 9.00 – 12.30 Huntly Farmers’ Market, The Square, Huntly
These are our main giveaway events for this season. Come and choose from around 13 varieties of seed potatoes that you can take away for free. We will also be around to answer any questions you have about the food growing process.
Saturday March 21st 11.00 – 12.30 Bonnymuir Green, Bonnymuir Place, Aberdeen
“Composting Is Fun” Join us at this interactive event to learn how garden waste turns into valuable compost. We start indoors where all the family take part in a game to see what can be composted and why. Then it’s everyone outdoors where our master composters show you how to get the best out of your composting pile. This is a free event as part of Climate Week North East. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Our OSF Garden Schools project, in conjunction with the University of Aberdeen, provides materials and support to schools who would like to take part. If you are a teacher, or know of someone who may be interested, please send us an email to email@example.com for more information.
We are holding CPD events for educators during the in-service days on February 18 & 19, where we will suggest classroom activities around gardening as well as holding an outdoor learning module.
For more details and to book a place, follow this link http://www.store.abdn.ac.uk/conferences-and-events/events/school-of-education
We hope to see you at one of our events soon!
All @ OSF