By Donald Campbell, Community Gardener
Photos courtesy of Clydebank Housing Association
It was a warm sunny afternoon in late July.
As community gardener for Clydebank Housing Association, I was asked if I could take the children attending the summer club into the garden and show them around.
After lunch, with over 20 children in tow we set off.
First on my list was a touch, feel, and smell test of the plants in the herb garden.
Some of the children were able to identify thyme, mint, lavender and rosemary through taste and smell.
We then moved on to the strawberry bed, where everyone enjoyed a ripe, red, juicy strawberry, picked fresh from the plants.
Then we headed to the large, raised potato bed.
Earlier in the day I set up the scales and flipchart outside by the picnic bench along with four large yellow buckets, then loosened the soil in the potato bed.
The children gathered around and four teams of three were selected and given a yellow bucket each.
I explained the rules.
The rest were happy to watch and support the team their friends were in.
On the word go they started to fill the buckets at the rate of a hundred miles an hour.
First, they pulled up the stalks with their yellowing leaves and small purple flowers.
At the bottom in among the roots large cream-coloured potatoes were attached.
The buckets were filling up fast, bringing shouts of joy and encouragement from the onlookers.
After this the teams began to trawl the bed using their fingers as rakes, quickly grabbing the ones exposed on the surface.
The soil was flying all around and covering their clothes, sorry mums, and dads, but with the laughter and excitement it was a price worth paying.
As adjudicator I watched closely to ensure fair play and making sure no one added a stone or two to add weight to their bucket.
After 20 minutes I shouted stop and we all moved to the scales for the grand weigh in!
With much applause, and cheering we invited the teams with their bright yellow buckets overflowing with Maris Pipers and Golden Wonders, up to the scales and announced the winning team.
But the fact was that everyone was a winner, as each young person left with a bag of potatoes, enough to give their family a good meal, and an increased knowledge of where their food comes from and how it is harvested.
And me, a verry happy but tired old gardener with a small bag of potatoes for my tea.