Over the past 7 weeks, more than 80 harvest boxes have been collected. From green leaves to edible flowers, the seasonal vegetables from the Maxwell Centre have found a home.
Erin is sharing with us why she is happy to collect her harvest box weekly. Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions and to share a delicious recipe ….
Have you discovered or rediscovered any vegetables/plants thanks to the Harvest Tuesday bag?
The vegetable box has made me fall in love with cooking again. I have always been abit of a foodie but fell out of love with it last year after dealing with some serious health issues. Since I began ordering my harvest box, I get excited for Tuesdays, it is my day to play in the kitchen and experiment. I especially have rediscovered how much I enjoy salad leaves and the huge variety that is out there, beyond the usual thoughts of salad consisting of merely iceberg lettuce. Being able to explore the taste of edible flowers, fresh spring onions and herbal tea infusions has been something I have really enjoyed, which I doubt I would have if it weren’t for the Harvest Tuesday Bag.
Why is it important for you to eat fresh vegetables/herb ..? Are they hard to find?
I have chronic health issues and diet is very important to me in trying to control my symptoms as best as I possibly can. As a result I have to try and eat as much vitamin rich foods where possible and the Harvest box has allowed me to add more enriched foods weekly. Due to the salad box, it is great to add more green leafy vegetables and edible flowers (which you cannot get in the local Lidls) to my cooking.
Do you grow anything at home or in your garden?
I have so many pots of plants around the house, tomatoes, couple of different lettuce plants, chilli, lime and all my window boxes are filled with edible herbs which I can pick freshly as and when I need them. For me growing my own plants and food has been important for my own mental health, especially during Covid-19. Growing my own things reminds me to value patience, the importance of slowing down and reminding myself to look after myself. The joy you get when you see the tip of a seedling appear from the soil makes it all worth while.
Can you share with us one of your favourite recipes with vegetables? My favourite thing to make is a spiced chickpea and peach curry. In a pot I brown some shallots (preferable for their sweeter taste but normal onions do just as well) with garlic, fresh ginger and celery until the onions are translucent. I then add chickpeas, with a little aquafaba (1 tsp of the juice from tinned chickpeas) and my own spice mix for 1 minute. You can use any curry spice mix you like. Then I add in any vegetables I want to add- usually courgette, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, aubergine and carrots- top up with homemade veg stock that i make weekly from my leftover veg stalks etc and simmer for 20 mins. After 20 mins I add peach slices (tinned, with the juice drained away), add in spinach and cook for a further 5 minutes and then serve with whatever side dish you fancy. I like mines with a lemon and mushroom cous cous.
Any comments or anything you want to share?
Thank You again for breathing back life into my kitchen.
Picture 1: Meet Erin!
Picture 2: Erin’s window sill with some of the plants she is growing. Very impressive!
Picture 3: A summer Lemon Chicken salad- made from harvest Box ingredients with a homemade Dandelion Vinegar dressing
Picture 4: Green salad Soup made entirely from Harvest Tuesday Box (with added beetroot slivers and toasted seeds)
If you want to know more about the Harvest Boxes, recipes or gardening please be in touch!
Inspired by Tayport’s PLANT initiative we thought we’d try the same idea in Dundee. We gathered all our surplus seedlings, seeds, cuttings, fruit canes and pots and set them out in a little stall in our community garden.
Despite the rain and fog, about 50 people joined us to share their own things, from lovage, angelica and scented geranium to beetroot, carrots, tomatoes, oca and even recycled pots for seedlings a bag of comfrey to make some fertiliser!
Families, couples, younger and older people were all thrilled to be able to share and have a little chat about what they were growing and ideas.
To keep us all safe during these COVID times we set up a one way system with hand sanitising available for when people arrived and left. People were all great at keeping their distance and patiently waiting for their turn!
Here are some tips from what we have learnt:
Cover the seed swapping area if there is any chance of rain
Clarify that people don’t have to bring something along to be part
Two hours seemed the right length of time, we had a steady flow of people throughout although most came at the beginning
Have tags and pens to identify plants coming and going
Have a wheelbarrow or big bag of compost and small pots to divide trays of seedlings whilst you are there
Have boxes for those that come unprepared!
Chatting to discuss what people want and need is really important to make it more likely for them to succeed at growing
Leave a little form for people to write their emails on so you can notify them of the next events (we completely forgot this time!)
It was good to have two people there so one of us could nip out and go and get special requests (special tomatoes, uprooting herbs, cuttings…!)
Take requests before the event so you can have some things ready (we’ll be doing this next time)
Donation box for those who want to give something back
For social distancing and keeping the one way system working put up as many clear signs as you can and encourage people to keep moving around the tables to keep the queue flowing
You can also swap gardening books, tools, and most importantly advice and experience!
One of the families that received one of our community garden growing kits is setting up a sensorial garden for their son. We asked our Grow Dundee Facebook group for ideas or advice for them (Huge thank you to you all, too many to name!). Here are most of these ideas, laid out as a mini-guide in case you would like to set up a little sensory garden yourself.
What is a sensory garden? Its a garden that aims to maximise the positive impact a garden has on people who are encouraged to touch, smell, smell, listen, observe their surroundings. It is a safe space to feel better and
How to design? The sensory garden design can be adapted depending on the main users, people in wheelchairs, small children, older people needing stable surfaces, people needing quiet spaces, etc. Access and having social and quiet areas are essential to make it a good experience for users. Having your plants at a variety of heights can make the space more interesting and provide different feelings (ie trees for protection, ground plants to explore and harvest, bushes or climbers to touch without having to bend down…)
What to plant?
For TASTE: strawberries, borage (cucumber taste), peas (unbeatable plus the joy of getting them out of their pod), mizuna (tastes of soup to me!), gooseberry (very tart!), nasturtium flowers (beautiful annual climbers with a peppery taste), chamomile (for a relaxing tea)
For SIGHT: colourful cabbages and lettuces, sculptural kale and artichoke, flowering climbing beans, brightly coloured flowers like poppies or marigolds but also more relaxing pastel coloured ones like roses, forget-me-nots. Also very large or long leaved plants like grasses, garlic, pumpkins, etc add visual interest and unusual patterns on leaves or shapes like clover, golden sage, walking onions, etc
For TOUCH: long grass or grain plants (grow a chickpea, they are lovely!) to run your fingers through, fennel, allium flowers, lambs ear, dandelions, pine cones, curly kale or parsley, a squishy tomato or berry, different types of seeds you can collect (nigella, fennel, poppy, peas, beans, etc.)
For SMELL: Some of our visitors don’t enjoy touching the plants so make sure you have some that smell without touching or crushing like honeysuckle, lilac, mock orange or the curry plant. Sweet pea, blackcurrant (rub the branches!) and blackcurrant sage, rhubarb, jasmine, scented geranium, elderflower, scented narcissi for spring, roses, mint (many many different smells!), rosemary, lavender, eucalyptus, basil, Nemesia “Wisley-Vanilla”, thyme, lemon verbena, lemon balm, Cosmos atrosanguineus (smells of chocolate and looks pretty says Erin), roman chamomile (smells of appley bubblegum according to Shonagh!), etc. Tomato, feverfew, lovage or pineapple weed have a distinctive smell (love or hate like marmite!)
For SOUND: larger bushes or trees like pines or birches, bamboo, honesty (has beautiful moon-like pods for added interest), long grass and flowers that attract some buzzing bumblebees and berries for chirping birds!
For more information here are some links we found online and recommended by the group:
We have been overwhelmed after receiving 130 requests for one of our free growing kits in just 24 hours! See here some happy growers faces from our last spring kits!
We are hoping to encourage local families to grow their own fruit and vegetable, to be more creative in their garden or windowsill and spending time together.
This has been our third growing kit during the COVID lockdown and there will be another one in June. This is the list of what was included and links to the activities in case you want to try these at home.
– Beetroot, calendula and flowering beanseeds with little tray and pots, compost and labels with instructions – Strawberry plant, ready to flower and fruit! – Thyme plant to spice up your dishes – Raspberry cane to plant in your favourite garden or park – Garden origami kit – Spring wreath kit with herbs from our garden – Design activity from the V&A outreach team – Healthy and yummy flapjack recipe&ingredients – “Cooking with Maxwell” booklet – Fresh fruit (apple, satsumas, bananas and strawberries)
We are encouraging families to join the GROW DUNDEE Facebook group and follow www.growdundee.blog to connect with over 400 people in Dundee who are beginners or experienced growers so they can access information, ideas and ask questions about growing fruit, veg and herbs at home.
We are always happy to share seeds with people who may want them, seedlings and pots etc to the best of our ability and resources! Get in touch through the Maxwell Centre Facebook page or call 01382 802628.
Some QUOTES from families…
Thank u! Wow this box is amazing!!!!!!! Those strawberries..,Can’t wait to start stuff with my girls tomorrow, thank you again x
Thank you for the growing kit can’t wait to get in garden tomorrow and start planting
Thank you again for the growing kit, the kids love it and it will give them a responsibility in looking after them
The Japanese word “origami”means : to fold (ori) and kami (paper). Origami helps develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and mental concentration. You will find 4 instructions: the tulip and the ladybug (level 1), the frog and the bird (level 2).
If you have some thread/ wire, you can hang them and make your animals fly! Send us some pictures of your artwork! If you want your origami to be displayed, send them at The Maxwell Centre Carnegie St, Dundee DD3 7EW and we will find a perfect spot for them!
All the origami have been made by Leo. Thanks you!