Community garden’s first harvest

Issued: Tue, 05 Jun 2018 10:10:00 BST

Green-fingered students are harvesting their first crop of vegetables from the University’s community garden.

Postgraduate research (PGR) volunteer gardeners picked radishes and Butterhead and Lollo Rosso lettuces to give to Hospitality Services for use in cafes around campus. They are also growing leeks, cabbages, sprouts, carrots, parsley, lettuces, radishes, cauliflower and fruit.

The community garden along Viewfield Lane was created 18 months ago and a volunteer gardening programme was set up for PGR students to help them take time out from studying and relax in the company of others.

Ali Alqallaf, a 36-year-old computing PhD student from Kuwait, has been tending the garden since March this year.

“It’s relaxing to have a change of environment,” he said. “Gardening is my second interest after computing. I’ve planted a fig and an olive tree to see if they will flourish in Glasgow.

“The fresh air helps with stress. I feel like I’m with my family when I come here,” added Ali, who has four children in Kuwait.

Naomi Johnson, 26, is a chemistry PhD student who lives in Glasgow. She said: “It’s satisfying to see progress in the garden. And I enjoy speaking to people I wouldn’t normally meet.”

Stewart Miller, the University’s Sustainability Officer, Estates and Commercial Services, said: “Postgraduate students can feel isolated and be under a lot of stress as they work incredibly hard. This garden is an oasis of calm and a suntrap. It gets them out of the laboratory and into the fresh air for an hour at lunchtime and gives them a chance to produce something tangible.

“We are proud of our first harvest and hope that people will enjoy eating the fruits of our labour.”

He added: “We are looking to gauge interest in lunchtime gardening sessions for staff members and undergraduate students too. Drop me a line if you’re interested: Stewart.Miller@glasgow.ac.uk.”

The University’s executive chef and retail manager, Hospitality Services, Scott Girvan, said: “The garden is in line with our sustainable food strategy, which encourages people to buy seasonal, locally grown food. I’m looking forward to using this wonderful produce.

community garden