Shieldfield Grows

Regular growing sessions at SAW garden on Wednesdays 10am-12pm. See our Winter and Spring 2022 programme below! Updates will be posted here.


Covid-19 shed light on the fragility of the UK’s food supply chains, so in response Dwellbeing and SAW organised a collective growing effort in the neighbourhood. Shieldfield Grows enabled people to grow vegetables, fruit and herbs in their homes, on balconies, gardens and allotments.

Shieldfield Grows is a programme of activity that seeks to promote sustainable food production, fair land usage and community flourishing. Developed as a collaboration between Dwellbeing Shieldfield and Shieldfield Art Works, Shieldfield Grows is also a part of Shieling, a programme of activity about growing and public space improvements initiated by Dwellbeing. Shieldfield Grows enables people to grow vegetables, fruit and herbs in their homes, on balconies, gardens and allotments. Together we are also developing part of SAW’s garden as a space for growing. The Shieldfield Grows programme is led by the Shieling working group. 

These growing projects are part of our long-term work around Shieling, which includes creating and sustaining community spaces and public realm improvements. Through Shieling we are reclaiming land in public spaces for food growing in our community as well as building community knowledge and engagement around the issues of food security, sustainable and participatory forms of building, land, planning and urban development. SAW and Dwellbeing have a shared understanding of working in collaboration with communities, both desiring a shared responsibility to care for and maintain these communities, for the flourishing of all people. 

Growing our own produce is a huge part of community autonomy and resilience especially in times of economic downturn and hardship. We want to be part of this movement which empowers our communities to have good quality, nutritious food for our bodies, minds and souls.

If you would like to be kept updated on the rest of our growing events then please email lydia@saw-newcastle.org or dwellbeeing@gmail.com to be added to our WhatsApp group or mailing list. 

Sat 8 October 2022 | UPCOMING HARVEST FESTIVAL

You are invited to come to the SAW garden and enjoy some food, live music, crafts and a time of thanksgiving. Please bring along some food to share at the feast (nut and meat free). Please RSVP to lydia@saw-newcastle.org if you would like to come. All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.


21 September 2022 |Lavender harvest and Shieldfield Grows reflection

We harvested all of the lavender today ready to bundle it up and dry it in one of our colleagues garages. We are hoping to organise some workshops to learn how to make lavender tea and to craft some lavender pouches to give as Christmas gifts. Watch this space! We also spent some time reflecting with our growers about how they have found this growing year and what they would like to learn next year. We have some exciting plans afoot!


14 September 2022 |Sage Advice: What do I do with my gross airy storage?!

Our ‘Sage Advice: What do I do with my gross airy storage?’ workshop was a hit! Sabina led us through preserving using vinegars and salt water, how to make our own balms from herbs grown in the SAW garden and how to dry herbs by hanging. We made lots of beautifully colourful pickled jars and are excited to share them at our Harvest Festival next month.


7th September 2022 | Harvesting, planting, sowing, weeding

Today at Shieldfield Grows we changed our flower boxes and planted in some beautiful violas. It’s amazing how such a delicate flower can survive the winter! We also harvested many runner beans and peas, sowed some mustard leave seeds, transplanted some chard and tidied up our planters.


31 August 2022 | Harvesting, dividing, transporting, weeding

Today during Shieldfield Grows we divided some baby strawberry plants to give away, harvested some carrots and tomatoes, transported our artichokes to a new home and weeded the entrance path. A good days work!


24 August 2022 | Harvesting

Today at Shieldfield Grows we harvested a rainbow of fresh produce including chard, golden and purple beetroot, runner beans, carrots and tomatoes. We will keep you posted as to what feasts our growers make with their haul!


10 August 2022 | Lettuce Eat with the Shieldfield Youth Group

Today Shieldfield Youth Group joined us as part of Lettuce Eat. They were fantastic! We made posters to welcome people to lunch; we learnt lots about different types of vegetables; we harvested some potatoes together; we made a selection of sandwiches using bread from the local bakery and a selection of salads using produce from our garden including potatoes, chard, beetroot, lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs. We then welcomed other community members to come and eat with us. It was an absolute blast!


3 August 2022 | Sowing, growing, weeding, harvesting

Today we harvested a good crop of chard; sowed carrots, kohl rabi and more chard; transplanting coriander; saved some poppy and sage seeds; weeded a lot of the public pathway that runs alongside our garden; and watered watered watered.


27 July 2022 | Sowing, growing, weeding, harvesting

Today at Shieldfield Grows we cleared out our final broad beans (which we have kept some seeds back to dry and save) and transplanted kale in its place; we sowed some turnip seeds (winter veg yay!!); harvested some mega courgettes; ate some tiny thinned out carrots; dreamed up chard recipes; and contemplated global warming as we stood among the scorched wild flower banks (which are still very graceful with their seed heads). We are using @huwsgarden veg in one bed book with a few additions because we wanted to try some corn and fennel. Still praying for more rain!!!


29 June 2022 | Sowing, growing, weeding, harvesting

Today at Shieldfield Grows we had fun drying out a tarpaulin and making a weaved fence for our peas to grow up. Thank you God for bringing the rain showers so we didn’t need to hand water everything! We also harvested some lettuce and a few strawberries.


22 June 2022 | Sowing, growing, weeding, harvesting

Today at our Shieldfield Grows session we planted corn, fennel, courgettes, artichoke, tomatoes and cauliflower. We also harvested the rest of the garlic and onions that were not harvested at the solstice and the mangetout. The garden got a big water as it has been so sunny and dry lately. The wild flowers are looking fantastic!


8 June 2022 | Sowing, growing, weeding, harvesting

Today we celebrated the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year when the sun is at its peak and our plants grow basking in the light of a Geordie summer. We enjoyed food and drinks, fun, readings and music and harvested the garlic and onions which we planted on the Winter Solstice.

This was a family friendly event with activities for children organised by Shieldfield Youth Programme and featuring contributions from members of SAW’s Mixing Bowl.


8 June 2022 | Sowing, growing, weeding, harvesting

Today at our Shieldfield Grows session we harvested lettuce and radish to enjoy for our lunches, constructed a wigwam out of different sized bamboo for our runner beans, sowed beetroot and generally maintained the garden. It rained overnight so we were saved from watering the garden – thanks God for your sweet provision!


1 June 2022 | Sage Advice: Born to Bee Wild

We had a buzzing time at our Born to Bee Wild workshop today. Andy and Francesca from Northumbria university came to share about all the different types pollinators and why they are important. Did you know that they account for £153 billion of our economy every year – helping pollinate most of the food that we eat. We then went and explored the SAW garden to find some of our buzzing friends who were loving the nepeta! We have a B-Lines walk on Saturday 11th that will go further out into the community to see where our pollinators are flying.


25 May 2022 | Sowing, growing, weeding, harvesting

Today, as part of Shieldfield Grows, we harvested lots of radish and lettuce, tied in our peas and broad beans, weeded, sowed coriander, dill, fennel, basil and chives, and planted out some tomatoes. We have set the growers the challenge of coming up with a new Platinum Jubilee dish with the harvest from today. Let’s see what they make!


18 May 2022 | Visit to Best of Bensham Community Allotment

We had a great visit to the community garden plot 42 that’s part of @bestofbensham. Ian kindly talked about the site and gave us a wonderful tour of all that they are growing. It is such a great project and we loved learning about it. Hopefully we can find some crossovers with our little growers plot ok Shieldfield.


11 May 2022 | Sowing, planting, watering

At Shieldfield Grows today we sowed dwarf french beans, kale and rainbow chard; planted on sunflowers; watered the whole garden; tied in the pies; and made a soil base for the cold frames as the grass was going wild! It was lovely to see so many incredible women working together to flourish the garden. We also harvested some garlic leaves, radish and lettuce to share out between us and instead of cooking together for Lettuce Eat we decided to photograph what we make with the produce to share our recipe ideas. Keep an eye out for those!


4 May 2022 | Sage Advice: Hydroponics workshop

Thank you so much Aidan from @fyto_ltd (FYTO said phonetically and not like an acronym) for sharing your knowledge and passion about locally produced and nutritious food from hydroponics. We had a great session thinking about how food is usually produced in monocultures and shipped from abroad so that we can eat out of season and how that is damaging for the planet. We thought about how hydroponics allows us to grow locally all year round so we can cut down our travelling miles for food and provide fresh and nutritious edibles. A fascinating talk and great to taste some of the produce. Check out FYTO and all the great work they are doing.


27 April 2022 | Watering, sowing

Today we planted on our broad beans, peas and cauliflower; sowed our runner bean seeds; watered all our plants; cut down all of the long grass around the planters; and started to use our new compost bin. We had a fabulous team of Shieldfield Growers today and enjoyed the work together. And we managed to harvest our first tiny radish!


20 April 2022 | Sage Advice: Building planters and compost bins

Joe Shaw helped us build three planters for our patio area which we hope to plant with herbs that will be easy to pick and maintain at a height. We also built 2 compost bins with spare pallets – a free and easy way to make your own compost bin.


13 April 2022 | Watering, sowing, fixing

Today we sowed marigolds to add a splash of colour to our planting; we covered a patch of bare soil in the front of the garden with spare grass turfs; and we sowed many sunflower seeds, which we had saved from our beautiful sunflowers from last year.


6 April 2022 | Watering, sowing, fixing

We continued to train members up in using the extendible hose pipe. We sowed our second row of radishes so that we have a successional crop. We tried to fix the polytunnel, which seems beyond repair so we may switch to using cold frames for early season sowing.


30 March 2022 | Watering in the snow

We learnt how to use our new extendible hose today but after getting rather wet (as Ken started a water fight) it started to snow rather heavily and we called it a day.


23 March 2022 | Sowing

The first day of Shieldfield Grows 2022 with sowing today. We sowed broad beans, radish, lettuce and potatoes. We also planted some raspberry canes, a blackcurrant bush and two gooseberry bushes. We are using Huw Richards book veg in one bed this year and hoping to learn about succession planting.


3 November 2021 | Growing

This week in the SAW garden we have picked all the green tomatoes that didn’t ripen on the vine and shared them out to our growing community. We are looking forward to seeing what people make with them. I know I am keen to make some green tomato chutney! 

We also planted some garlic and onion bulbs bought from @thegraingermarket and will keep an eye on their growth over the winter months. 

Our cabbages are getting bigger too but we still need to wait for the middles to harden some more. 

Even as winter approaches there is much to be getting on with in the garden! 


9 October 2021 | Shieldfield Seasonal Recipe Zine

Covid-19 shed light on the fragility of the UK’s food supply chains, so in response Dwellbeing and SAW organised a collective growing effort in the Shieldfield neighbourhood. Shieldfield Grows enabled people to grow vegetables, fruit and herbs in their homes, on balconies, gardens and allotments. Then in 2021 we grew the project (pun very much intended) to include seven planters in the SAW garden, which have flourished with community care. 

Growing our own produce is a huge part of community autonomy and resilience especially in times of economic downturn and hardship. We want to be part of this movement which empowers our communities to have good quality, nutritious food for our bodies, minds and souls. But there is no point growing our own food if we don’t know what to do with it. So we are creating a zine that seeks to do just that. We are celebrating both our beautiful homegrown seasonal food and the incredible variety of food cultures and cooks we have in Shieldfield, by gathering recipes from our local community. 

Seasonal food is so important as it keeps in step with our natural local seasons, it reduces food miles, it tastes so much fresher and it is far more sustainable. Eating seasonally helps us to care for both people and planet. But we are often very out of tune with what grows when. So in order to help us practice cooking seasonally we have enlisted chef, creative and advocate for sustainable food Sam Cooper. He collaborates with Huw Richards (​​author, permaculturalist and YouTuber) to celebrate nutritious, seasonal and regenerative food by sharing original recipes, thoughts and other inspirational food projects. Find out more about their work and explore more seasonal recipes at farmerandchef.co.uk. Sam has created one recipe for each month for us to cook and enjoy alongside local Shieldfield recipes.

The zine is now available. If you are interested in getting your hands on a copy then just email lydia@saw-newcastle.org


9 October 2021 | Shieldfield Harvest Festival 2021

What a fantastic Harvest Festival on Saturday. We had a wonderful mix of local residents, students, SAW community, artists and many more come and celebrate and give thanks for this year’s harvest and the flourishing of Shieldfield. We enjoyed making a wreath of thankfulness by rubbing leaves picked from around Shieldfield, attaching them to a wreath made of willow grown in the SAW garden and writing what we are thankful for about our communities on the back. We enjoyed live music from Bridget and Lydia&James. We spent some time thanking God for the plentiful harvest of the past year and the natural world around us. And we tucked into a feast made by lots of our local community friends. All of the food made was from recipes given to produce our Shieldfield seasonal recipe zine so you could enjoy the food and then make it yourself at home. We even made a stew from all the produce grown in the SAW garden. 

Thanks to @huwsgarden for informing our growing this year with your productive planting plan. Thanks to @chef.sam.black for your wonderful recipes that make up part of the zine (the beetroot and ewe’s curd tarte tatin is pictured above). Thanks to all our local community growers who have helped us flourish Shieldfield together this year. And a huge thanks to Ken our Community Bee from @dwellbeingshieldfield for your incredible help in organising the festival and to your wisdom, care and hard work in growing with us this year – you are an incredible lady!! 


22 September 2021 | Growing

We picked the rocket and coriander seeds to dry for saving, picked the last of our cucumber crop, surveyed our mini pumpkin, earthed up our leeks, smiled that God has brought the sun out to hopefully further ripen our tomatoes and enjoyed the swaying of the willow. Not long now till our harvest festival on 9th October where we will enjoy the last of our produce! 


15 September 2021 | Growing

Last week we donated some rosemary to the local Big River Bakery and they used it to make a tomato and rosemary focaccia. It was very yummy and we enjoyed it in our garden working group session. We also harvested some kale, beetroot, carrots and cucumbers. Ken also scattered some yarrow seeds along the fence and we will wait to see if they grow next year to add a bit more wild to our garden.


08 September 2021 | Growing

The potato harvest is in!


01 September 2021 | Growing

Today we harvested our first small orange pumpkin ready for our Harvest Festival in October. It was also full of cucumber smiles! We are going to blanch and freeze the pumpkin and courgette and pickle the cucumber and beetroot to preserve them before the festival. Sometimes veg comes earlier than you want and our plot has been mighty productive so we are finding ways to keep the produce before we make a community feast! Maria also brought some foraged plums to share and the sunflowers were holding their cheerful faces high at the sight of our abundant crops.


18 August 2021 | Growing

The seasons are definitely turning – I can feel autumn in the air. Today at the SAW garden with @dwellbeingshieldfield we checked on our onion flower heads to see if they were ready for collecting seeds. We picked some carrots, beet leaves, beans, lettuce, kale, squash, courgettes, the last of the peas and borage flowers. We planted some carrot, kale, spinach and beetroot seeds just to see if we could get them going before the weather turns too much – perhaps a bit late but you can but try. We planted some ginger. We found a single wheat 🌾 growing and a tiny cucumber smile. And we listened to the wind in the whomping willow whose branches are rivalling the giant student blocks. Our little garden is still going strong and we are due to drown in squash fruit in the next couple of months. Our Shieldfield Growers are stellar! 


11 August 2021 | Growing and drawing

Today in the SAW garden we had some wonderful volunteers drawing our produce for our upcoming Shieldfield Seasonal Recipes zine in collaboration with @dwellbeingshieldfield and @chef.sam.black. They drew peas, courgettes, onions, roses and nasturtiums. We also cleared the peas to make way for some squash, picked some gigantic courgettes and admired our mini squash (which we are keenly watching in the months to come as they grow bigger ready for an autumn stew). 


28 July 2021 | Growing

Another good harvest at the SAW garden where we grow veg in collaboration with @dwellbeingshieldfield. The sugar snaps have finished, the peas are bursting and the courgettes are just beginning to grow up. Keep up with our story to see what we create with the produce this week!!


21 July 2021 | Sharing seasonal recipes


21 July 2021 | Growing

The SAW garden is looking delicious! Our Shieldfield growers were working hard today harvesting some fresh produce. Each volunteer has taken some veggies and are each going to create a different dish to share with the growers’ group. A mini ready steady cook if you will. Look at the vibrant colours of the peas, scarlet and golden beetroot, baby carrots, rocket, kale, lettuce, rosemary, coriander, nasturtiums, borage and even a rose for infusing oils. @farmer.and.chef I’ll be hunting your blog for some inspiration! Watch this space for our community cooking creations…


19 July 2021 | Regular gardening workshops

Our gardening workshops will now be held every Wednesday mornings from 10am-12pm. We will learn how to look after and nurture the seeds that we have sown. We are looking forward to seeing these grow and flourish throughout the year, ready to be eaten together! Email lydia@saw-newcastle.org if you would like to get involved in our regular gardening workshops. 


29 June 2021 | Growing

I have only been away from our wee Newcastle community activist garden for two weeks and oh my how it has grown! Our wonderful community have been hard at work watering, weeding and thinning. We have been following @huwsgardenproductive planting plan and I would say it’s pretty productive at present. It’s been jiving after the rain finally turned up! @dwellbeingshieldfield have left in a couple of onion and garlic bulbs after the solstice harvest and they now look like triffids (although the film rendition has left me with scars so maybe I’ll liken them to giants instead). Here is to community flourishing!


2 June 2021 | Growing

Weeding and watering today at the SAW garden with @dwellbeingshieldfield and a fab team has been out clearing a planter in the centre of Shieldfield. We waited last week to find out what was a weed and what was our seedlings as they were too small. This week after sticking a hand in the bed it what obvious that the majority of it was stinging nettles from the painful sting. True to its Latin genus name Urtica, it does urt! Hopefully the beetroot seedlings have more space to grow now. It is truly wonderful to work together to flourish and nurture growing things. We even harvested some rocket today by picking the bigger leaves to let the smaller ones come through. They will be a tasty treat for dinner tonight. We have been following @huwsgardenproductive planting plan, and would highly recommend 👌


May 2021 | Growing

We were back in the SAW garden today planting sugar snap peas, dwarf French beans, potatoes and salad leaves. The seedlings we sowed together with @dwellbeingshieldfield a few weeks ago are springing up and we did a bit of thinning out today. It is fun to see different people’s sowing styles 😄 And Ken has been busy labelling plant pots. We have been following @huwsgarden productive planting plan and are excited to see how the plants develop and flourish! 


12 May 2021 | Regular gardening workshops

We will hold a gardening workshop every Wednesday afternoon from 2-4pm from May 12th 2021 onwards. We will learn how to look after and nurture the seeds that we have sown. We are looking forward to seeing these grow and flourish throughout the year, ready to be eaten together! Email lydia@saw-newcastle.org if you would like to get involved in our regular gardening workshops. 

If you would like to be kept updated on the rest of our growing events then please email dwellbeeing@gmail.com to be added to our WhatsApp group or mailing list. 


5 May 2021 | Sowing seeds


12 April 2021 | Preparing the soil and planting courgette & squash seeds


1 April 2021 | Shieldfield Grows is back in 2021!

Shieldfield Grows is back again in 2021! Just like last year we will be distributing seeds to grow on our windowsills or in our gardens. This year we are also going to be growing food in the Shieldfield Art Works (SAW) activist garden and in planters around the neighbourhood. This is a great opportunity to come and learn a little bit about gardening, meet new people from our local community and help Shieldfield flourish together. All are welcome, whether you are a novice or a seasoned gardener. To kick off our growing in 2021 we have a few different opportunities you can join. 

12th April: Come and join us in preparing the soil in the beds at SAW and in planting some courgette and squash seeds. 

3 May: Come and join us in sowing lots of different vegetable seeds. 

Email dwellbeeing@gmail.com to sign up for one of the following slots at each event:

9am – 9.30am

9.45am – 10.15am

10.30am – 11pm

11.15pm – 11.45pm

You can book in for one or both events. We are following government guidelines with the rule of 6 so you are limited to book in a max of 4 people per slot. If you are experiencing any Covid symptoms then please stay at home in order to keep us all safe and healthy.


Growers of Shieldfield

Click on the different growers to learn more about them and to see how their plants are doing.

Helen L

Sharon B

Gemma H & Alison M

Zainab G

Val M

Maria H