Grow your own food on campus

We’ve got a thriving Community Garden Society here at Heriot-Watt, growing all kinds of vegetables and herbs, and it’s getting more popular every year.

Get involved

Don’t worry if you’ve never grown anything in your life – come along anyway, all staff and students are welcome and there are always jobs that need doing.

Email Sam Bogaerde at hwcommunitygarden@outlook.com or take a look at the Community Garden’s Facebook page to get involved.

We also run regular workshops to help people learn and develop their growing skills: the subjects depend on the season, but they’ve included everything from how to build raised beds and start a vegetable garden, to building bird boxes, tool safety, and how to take cuttings for an indoor herb garden.

Why grow your own?

Why bother to grow your own vegetables when you can keep your hands clean and get everything you need from the shops instead?

It’s cheaper than using the shops, and the fresh seasonal produce is as natural and nutritious as it gets

Every gardener has their own answer, and we could give you several. Perhaps the simplest reason is that it’s fun! If you’ve been slaving away for hours in the lab or the library, getting out into the fresh air and working with your hands can be very therapeutic.

It’s a healthy and happy way of having a complete change of scene, and many people here really look forward to spending a few hours working in the Community Garden.

We grow good stuff, too! It’s cheaper than using the shops, and the fresh seasonal produce is as natural and nutritious as it gets – we don’t use pesticides or additives, and you can taste the difference in the wide range of seasonal vegetables, herbs and fruit we raise.

We try to recycle all our garden waste as compost, and we also collect used coffee grounds from campus cafeterias to enrich the soil.

The Edinburgh campus has two growing areas: a large area of 14 raised beds by the Millennium Garden, and a polytunnel by the Gardener’s Cottage

More about the Garden

The Edinburgh campus has two growing areas: a large area of 14 raised beds by the Millennium Garden, and a polytunnel by the Gardener’s Cottage.

As for what we actually grow, the list is getting longer all the time. Veg-wise it includes carrots, cauliflower, cabbages, broccoli, beetroot, runner beans, French beans, kale, chard, chillies, pak choi, Brussels sprouts, peas, potatoes, leeks, red onions, turnips, courgettes, spinach, tomatoes, radishes, rocket and lettuce; while our herbs include parsley, sage, fennel, mint, rosemary and thyme.

We also recently planted an orchard of heritage and native fruit trees next to the allotment: as these grow they’ll boost biodiversity and improve drainage, as well as supplying the Heriot-Watt community with delicious apples and pears.

How the garden started

With thanks to Lauren Parry and Louise Dean for the video.

Students and staff talk about why they grow their own

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