This week, the seed potatoes have been planted in specific wooden boxes with peat-free compost at outdoor learning areas within Shortroods and Ferguslie Park. The boxes were made and delivered by the Unpaid Work Team of Renfrewshire Council.

This project involves nurseries, primary schools, after school care groups and the disability resource centre.  This is supported by the Hugh Fraser Foundation, the Rozelle Trust, Renfrewshire Council, CAF Toule Foundation and Foundation Scotland.

The harvesting of the potatoes is due to take place by the end of June 2020. However, the growing of the potatoes is affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Some volunteers involved in supporting the project have had to self-isolate and will not be able to undertake any gardening activities. Several locations are subject to temporary closures and the potatoes may not receive regular watering apart from rainwater. A weekly diary of the potato growing will be recorded by the staff over the next 3 months.

In the last 12 months, the Spuds for Buddies project has been successful in working with local schools, two local nurseries, After School Care and community groups to improve awareness of healthy eating and gardening skills in the Paisley North area.

13052019 001                      View of potatoes growing at the Healthy Heart Garden

Between March – June 2019, the project established 47 raised beds built with the support of Renfrewshire Unpaid Work Team across the Shortroods area of Paisley. Within the Healthy Heart Garden and assisted by two volunteers, potatoes were planted by 49 school pupils (P6/P7). The potatoes were successfully harvested and taken by a pupil group for use in healthy eating cookery activities in the third week of June 2019. In addition, 21 pupils from Primary 1 grew potatoes in 11 boxes within their school grounds between March – June 2019. Local nurseries and After School Care were provided with support and resources including boxes, seed potatoes and compost to grow potatoes.

18022019 spuds for buddies bagsCotton bags for harvested potatoes made by Unpaid Work Team.

23062019 008Potatoes harvested from the raised boxes made by Unpaid Work Team.

This project is seeking to continue building the knowledge, skills and work experience to enable a wider group of children within the community to manage food growing using their own raised beds in 2020.

In 2019, a new raised bed was established for a growing site at Springbank Sheltered Housing.  The plants chosen by residents included Lavender, Hydrangea, Forsythia, Buddleia, Azalea, Heathers,  and Chives.  Additional herbs (Comfry, Echinhea, Chard, Oregano, Calendula) were provided for planting, with children in June 2019.

The main beneficiaries are older people over 50, living in sheltered housing and
children attending a local nursery, aged between 2-5 years old. The local residents living in the local neighbourhood gained access to an enhanced community growing space.

10082019 005View of the raised planters in August 2019.

Through volunteering and workshops, it has helped to break down barriers between residents of all ages within the Paisley North area through involvement in gardening activities. The project has enhanced skills, knowledge and experience of local people through participation in a local environmental project. It has helped to address health issues by providing resources which encourage active living and healthy eating.

Thanks to all the supporters of this project. This was possible with funding from Greggs Environment Grant and Action Earth Grant.

Edible Paisley

We’re rethinking access to local food, from the ground up. We’re are planning to grow fruit, herbs, vegetables and edible flowers in public and unused spaces across North Paisley for everyone to share. This year, the project will establish and care for 2 edible growing sites. This is funded by Greggs and Action Earth.

In the last three months, we have identified two locations for raised planters in the Shortroods area. Also, members of the unpaid work team of Renfrewshire Council have completed the building of two raised beds for the project.

Through consultation with residents of the Springbank Road Sheltered Housing, it was agreed one of the planters could be sited on a grassed area nearby. Residents identified their favourite plants to put in the planters including Heathers, Japonica, Forsythia, Deciduous Azalea, Lavender, Hydrangea, Buddleia and Chives.

22052019 011

This planter was delivered and filled with soil by the Unpaid Work Team. It was planted by a resident from Springbank Road Sheltered Housing in May 2019.

In addition, further to discussion with staff of the Love Street Medical Centre, it was agreed to locate the second planter in an open space next to their car park. A survey was issued for patients to provide their suggestions for plants and the list of suggestions received included Pansies, Lavender, anything blue, and a tree in the middle.

22052019 014

This planter was also delivered and filled with soil by the Unpaid Work Team with support from the Disability Resource Centre. It was planted by a volunteer and a staff member in May 2019.

We are recruiting volunteers interested in supporting development of this project. Community involvement will be supported with people taking part in the project workshops and community events. This aims to support educational activities and information about food growing and caring for the environment. These sites will raise awareness and build community around the shared tasks of cultivation of trees, shrubs and edible plants.

As part of the Spuds for Buddies Project, we have supported children in the planting of seed potatoes in various boxes at the Healthy Heart Garden in the Disability Resource Centre, Mossvale Primary, Mossvale Nursery, Rainbow Nursery and Shortroods After School Care.


We work with children to teach them where food comes from and how to care for their local environment. A wider aspect of the project activity is the benefit it will provide for people on community payback orders by providing meaningful work as they make the boxes for growing the potatoes. It seeks to reduce vandalism, making the area more attractive for people moving in to newly built homes and promotes maintenance of local greenspaces for use by all ages.


In the last week, pupils have harvested the boxes of potatoes and they were taken home for eating in specially designed cotton bags. The project has been possible as we planted Home Guard Early Potatoes.

2506018 019.JPGMany thanks to everyone at the Healthy Heart Garden and Disability Resource Centre for supporting the potato growing over the last 4 months. John is pictured with harvested potatoes from a box.

Hedge planting

06052018 004Woodland Trust Free Tree Packs containing more than 300 saplings were donated to Rainbow Community Nursery. These were planted to create a hedge along the perimeter fence of the nursery grounds, enhancing the outdoor learning environment for the children. For more details about the free tree packs, please go to: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/packs/


During March, school pupils from St. James Primary and Mossvale Primary planted potatoes in the boxes made by Community Payback. The planting took place as part of a workshop supported by volunteers from the Healthy Heart Garden in the Disability Resource Centre.

Photos provided by volunteer, John Brennan show planting by a group of Primary 7 pupils from St. James Primary.

spuds for buddies planted boxes 2018

The harvesting of the potatoes from the boxes by the pupils will take place in June 2018. Weekly watering by volunteers will be arranged if there is a lack of rainfall.

Chitting Potatoes

This month, we have been chitting potatoes in preparation for gardening workshops with school pupils. These first early Charlotte seed potatoes will be planted in raised beds with compost and organic chicken manure during March 2018 at the Healthy Heart Garden in Paisley.

20180303 001

Further information on chitting of potatoes is available at:  https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/grow-your-own/vegetables/potatoes























During the last month, volunteers and a sessional worker have produced a recipe book showcasing potatoes as the main ingredient. Details of the recipes are provided below or can be downloaded as a pdf ; RET Spuds for Buddies Recipe Book

Potato Mushroom Cakes from Christine

500g/1lb flourly (mealy) potatoes diced
25g/1oz/2 tablespoons butter
175g/6oz mixed mushrooms, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed.
1 small egg, beaten.
1 tablespoon chopped chives.
Flour for dusting.
Oil for frying.
Salt and pepper.

Cook potatoes in a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes.
Drain and mash.Melt butter and fry mushrooms, garlic and cook for 5 minutes, drain well.Stir in mushrooms, garlic into potato mixture with beaten egg and chives.Divide mixture into 4 portions and shape into round cakes, toss in flour until coated.
Heated oil and fry in a medium heat for 10 minutes and turn.
Serve and enjoy.


Creamy Leek Potato Soup from Martha

2 leeks, thinly sliced
1lb potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Chives, chopped for garnish (optional)

Put 3 cups of the vegetable stock in a soup pot on medium high heat and saute the leeks until soft and translucent tender; about five minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for twenty minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
Add salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
Serve garnished with chopped chives, fresh ground nutmeg, bread, and a garden salad.


Potato Scones from Jean

250g Potatoes
1 knob of Butter
50g Plain Flour
Salt to taste

Cook the potatoes in boiling water salted for 7-10 minutes until tender and drain. Make a batch of mashed potatoes. Mix in a knob of butter and a little salt and allow the mixture to cool.
Kneed in enough plain flour until you have a dough. Roll out and cut into shapes. Fry in a dry frying pan until lightly browned on both sides.


Oven Baked Rosti from Jean

500g waxy potatoes, peeled
1 medium onion
30g butter, melted

Preheat the oven to hot 229c/425f/gas mark 7
Cook the potatoes in boiling water salted for 7-10 minutes until tender and drain.Prepare a 12-hole muffin tin with a little of the melted butter. Grate the potatoes and onion and mix together in a bowl, and pour in the remaining melted butter over the mixture and season with salt.
Divide the mixture into the muffin tin, pressing it down as you go. Cook rosti in the oven for 45 minutes or until cooked through and golden.Loosen carefully with a palette knife, lift out rosti and serve warm.


Potato and Leek Bake from Jean

650g potatoes
2 leeks
A vegetable stock cube
150ml double cream
2 teaspoons of dried herbs
100g grated cheese

Slice potatoes and leeks. Layer these in an ovenproof dish and pour in vegetable stock mixed with double cream and dried herbs. Sprinkle grated cheese then cover with foil.
Cook in the oven at 180c/160f/Gas mark 4 for 30 minutes.
Remove foil and cook for a further 30-35 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the cheese topping is golden.

Potato Puffles by Jean (serves 6)

4lb potatoes
2 eggs
2 oz butter
½ teaspoon of pepper & 1 level teaspoon of salt
½ pint of milk
2 oz of grated cheese

Boil, drain and mash the potatoes. Add all the other ingredients.
Whip until the mixture stands up stiffly. Drop spoonfuls of mixture into hot deep fat fryer and cook until crisp, for about 5-7 minutes or alternatively put the mixture into a pie dish and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 425f/gas mark 7.


Dolphin Potatoes by Martin

1 kg potatoes (not “new”), thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed or chopped
Knob of butter or 1 tablespoon oil
1 pint (600ml) milk
1 carton crème fraiche
¼ pint (150ml) cream


Melt butter and cook onion gently until soft.  Stir in garlic, cook for another minute and add creams and milk.   Season well with pepper and salt, then heat.  Add potatoes, stir and simmer for 10 minutes.   Transfer to a buttered dish and bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour at 180oC/gas mark 4 or Bake 35-50 minutes, then sprinkle with 120g grated gruyere cheese and bake for a further 10mins.


Champ from Jean (serves 4)

750g potatoes, peeled.
A bunch of spring onions including green tops, chopped.
300ml milk.
50g butter, including extra for serving.
175g cheese, grated
Salt and freshly ground pepper.

Cut the potatoes into large even sized pieces and cook in boiling water for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain well.
Put the spring onion in a pan with the milk, bring to the boil, then simmer 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and infuse for 10 minutes.
Mash the potatoes well, beat in the milk and onion mixture then the salt and pepper.
Put in a clean pan to reheat then spoon into small bowls in mounds.
Make a hollow in the top of each mound and put in a little butter and cheese.

Colcannon (Ireland) – Kale or cabbage is used instead of spring onion and cheese. It is served in the same way as Champ, or formed into little cakes and fried butter to form a crunchy crust.

Clapshot (Scotland) – Follow the recipe for Champ omit cheese and add 750g mashed turnip. Chives or cooked bacon may be added at the end.


Corned Beef Hash by Jean (serves 4)

600-800g new potatoes
200g Peas
1 Tin Corned Beef
4 eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Scrub some baby new potatoes.
Boil for 12-15 minutes until tender, then drain and cut potatoes in half. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the potatoes to a golden brown. Add some cooked peas and diced canned corn beef to the pan, heat and mix gently being careful not to break up the corned beef. Season and serve with poached eggs,


Potato and Cheese Muffins by Jean

2 cups self-raising flour
2 ¾ cups peeled and grated potato
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 180c, brush bases of deep ¼ cup patty tins with oil. Sift flour into a large mixing bowl, add the potatoes and cheese. Make a well in the centre and add the combined (do not over beat the mixture). Spoon level tablespoons of the mixture into the tins and bake 10 minutes or until well risen and golden. Leave 2 minutes in the tins before turning on to a wire rack to cool. Repeat until all the mixture is used up.
Potato Blinis by Jean

350g potatoes
4 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil

Peel and cut potatoes into cubes, boil in water until tender.
While the potatoes are cooking, separate eggs.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
Transfer the cooked and drained potatoes to a bowl along with the egg yolks.
Season and carefully fold in the egg whites to the mixture.
Spray a frying pan with oil. Add 3 or 4 separate tablespoons of the mixture to the pan.
Fry on both sides on a high heat until set and lightly browned.
Set aside and keep warm.
Repeat until all of the mixture has been used up.


Scottish Macaroon Bars by Sandy

2 potatoes
500g Icing sugar
2 bars plain chocolate
Desiccated coconut.

Boil and mash the potato, allow to cool.
Beat and mix with a wooden spoon until very smooth.
Add your icing sugar, with small amounts first and keep adding more, until the mixture is thick and doughy enough to handle.
As you start to mix the mixture will become liquefied, keep adding more icing sugar to form a thick fondant like substance.
Spread fondant out on to a tray and out in the freezer for around an hour.
Remove from freezer and cut it into the size of bars, put it back in the freezer for a good 2 – 3 hours.
After 3 hours, gently melt your chocolate.
Toast around half of your desiccated coconut for around 20 – 30 seconds, then mix it with the rest of the un-toasted coconut.
Once your chocolate is melted and the coconut is toasted, you can either mix the coconut with the chocolate or leave coconut in a bowl and put the chocolate covered fondant in to give a really good coating of coconut.
Once coated with chocolate and coconut, place the macaroons in the fridge for an hour before eating.


Potato Muffins by Martin (Can be gluten-free)

75g gluten-free flour or ordinary plain flour
175g floury potatoes, peeled
2tsp baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoon brown sugar
100g sultanas/raisins/blueberries
4 eggs, separated

Grease and flour a 12 cup muffin tin.  Chop the potatoes and boil until tender. Drain well and mash. Mix potato with flour, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar, fruit and egg yolks.  In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold into potato mixture using a metal spoon.  Divide the mixture between the muffin cups.  Bake in pre-heated oven at 200oC/gas mark 6 for 10 mins, then at 160oC/gas 3 for another 10 minutes.  Serve warm.