Garthdee Allotments

the e-home of the Garthdee Field Allotments Association

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ITN August Newsletter

Juliette Camburn, from the It’s Your Neighbourhood Campaign has been kind enough to send us a PDF copy of their IYN August newsletter.
You will find articles on:
·         The Dundee Flower & Food festival and the Beautiful Scotland award Ceremony
·         Funding – free advice available for applying for funds
·         Vandalism – one groups’ experience and how they tackled it
·         Ways to engage with your community
·         Tips on wildlife gardening
·         And a Clean Up Scotland update – lots of activities to get involved with.


I have just come across Martina’s Three Part Guide to Composting over on the Recycle for Aberdeen blog. Martina provides a very useful beginner’s guide to the hows and whys of composting.

Part 1 covers the benefits of composting and suitable compost bins.

Part 2 deals with how to feed your compost bin with the right balance of ingredients, combining Green/Wet and Brown/Dry materials.

Part 3 tells you when and how to use your compost and offers a troubleshooting guide if things go wrong.

Composting our green and brown waste is a great way of getting a soil improver free and helps us do our bit to make Aberdeen a little greener by cutting the use of landfill.


Dear Plotters
Just a reminder that TAMS started this week, so if you have surplus fruit, vegetables or flowers, please place these in the large green baskets at the bothy before 1600 – each Thursday from now until the end of the growing season.
UPDATE – please leave contributions by 12.00 noon, Thursdays.
Proceeds from the sale of produce are ploughed back into GFAA.
Greg Welsh and Cath Pilley are still looking for volunteers at the market stall on Fridays (0900-1500) or Saturdays (1030-1530), so if you have time available, please contact them on
Thanks and happy plotting,

First Class News from RGU

Plotters will remember a few months back being asked to help an RGU student, Brittany Forbes, with her Honour’s Degree Project in which she tried to quantify the health and well-being benefits of working an allotment.  Brittany has been kind enough to send a summary of her final report and it brings good news.

A comparison of fruit and vegetable consumption and wellbeing in allotment holders and non-allotment holders

While there is some research to show that allotment gardening has a beneficial effect on general health and wellbeing, there is currently little quantitative evidence in the UK to support this. The aim of this research was to assess fruit and vegetable consumption and general wellbeing in allotment participants and non-participants. A paper based questionnaire was sent to 468 Aberdeen City Council allotment holders with a second copy of the questionnaire for a matched control (a friend or colleague of the same sex, age and postcode, who does not grow their own produce either on an allotment or in a garden). A total of 104 questionnaires were completed and returned (11% response rate), with 45 pairs of questionnaires from allotment holders and a suitable matched control . Allotment holders (n=45) reported consuming more fruit and vegetables habitually, a median of 7 portions from a 24 hour recall, compared to the 45 matched non-allotment holders who reported a median of 6 (p = 0.01). In addition there was a statistically significant higher proportion of allotment holders consuming the recommended 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day compared to non-allotment holders (p = 0.03). Allotment holders reported higher satisfaction levels regarding time spent outdoors, exercise and diet as a whole compared to non-allotment holders. However there was no significant difference with satisfaction of other aspects of wellbeing, such as weight and life as a whole. Overall, the present research highlights the potential contribution of allotment gardens to a healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally.

I am pleased to report that Brittany’s interesting study helped her gain a First Class Honours Degree. Thanks to all GFAA members who acted as a focus group as part of her research design activity or completed and returned her questionnaire.

Green Times Summer 2014

The summer 2014 edition of Green Times has just been published with information on Aberdeen’s environmental news and events. In this publication find out about:
·         East Tullos Burn project
·         Clean Up Aberdeen
·         Waste Aware Updates
·         River Don gateways
·         Eco Schools
·         Sustainable living video
·         Duthie Park and Countryside Rangers events and activities
To view a copy of this edition go to Our Green Times
Alison Leslie
Sustainable Development Officer
Planning & Sustainable Development
Aberdeen City Council

Minutes from the General Meeting on August 2013

Minutes of the Garthdee Field Allotments Association(GFAA) General Meeting held in the Robert Gordon University Faculty of Health and Social Care, Garthdee Road at 7-30pm on Wednesday 28thAugust 2013.

Present: Stuart Oram (Chairman), plots 8 and 56, Mike Fairhurst, plot 5, Rupert Hunt, plot 73, Norman and Jacqui Coutts, plot 81, Ruth Evans plot 22, Allan George plot 98A, Rhona Matheson, plot 37.

Apologies: George Tulloch, Carlos Galan, Ian Shand, Ranald Cameron, Gavin and Tricia Bell, Carrie Watt, Gordon MacDonald,Val Milne.

 In the absence of the Secretary, the Chairman took the minutes.

 Association Funds: As at 14/8/2013 cash in bank was £854.

Committee Membership: Ken Locke, one of our Committee members has moved to a new home in Dunfermline. The Chairman took the opportunity to acknowledge and thank Ken for his contribution to GFAA. In particular, it was Ken who started off the initial Advisory Group when the Council announced some years ago that their policy was to shift responsibility to allotment holders and give them an opportunity to direct their own affairs. The Advisory Group subsequently metamorphosed into the GFAA. The meeting expressed their best wishes to Ken in his new home.

Ken’s departure leaves a vacancy on the Committee which we hope to fill as soon as possible. If any allotment holder would like to join the Committee or would like to find out more about what is involved please contact any Committee member.

Mike Fairhurst has taken over from Ian Shand, the role of auditing the allotments in conjunction with the Council.

Allotment Guidance Documents from Aberdeen City Council: There was a generally favourable reaction at the meeting to these documents.

Site Security – Rear Boundary fence and Replacement Padlock: A site meeting had been held with George Davidson from the Council and the Chairman. While  George Davidson did agree that a replacement fence similar to that beside Pitfodel’s Road  was ideally what was needed, the Council have since reported back that the funds for such a fence are not available. An alternative suggestion that had been mooted previously to establish a thorn hedge was not considered necessary by George as there appeared to be an existing barrier of nettles and branches and thorns. The meeting agreed that we should obtain a proper costing to build the ideal fence and have it ready to present to potential funders as the  opportunity arose.

Action: Chairman A replacement combination padlock for the overhead barrier is to be obtained shortly by the Council. The delay has been due to protracted discussion initiated by the Council on alternative padlocks.

Update on Allotment for Disabled People: The Chairman reported that there might be a possibility of some funding for our project from RGU who have recently been awarded a fairly large sum of money for a bigger project they are working on. Discussion on the allocation and distribution of these funds will be taking place shortly.

The meeting agreed that we should also promote aspects of the disabled allotment costs and use networking with local businesses to try to secure funds. For example if local businesses have budgeted funds for community purposes, we might be able to obtain their support for parts of our project eg Supply of sleepers to create the raised beds and so on.

Plot for RGU Students: The Council have agreed to allocate Ken Locke’s former plot (20) to the RGU Students Association following their recent request.

Update on plan for BBQ area in the Orchard: The students at the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and the Built Environment did produce various designs for our BBQ area as part of their Degree course. All the designs were shown to the Chairman representing GFAA as the client. The student focus was on the covered area related to barbecues as opposed to the construction of the actual stone BBQ. The Chairman felt that for GFAA to progress this further we would need to adapt the students ideas and if any allotment holder feels they could in any way assist in the design and build of this facility please get in touch with the Chairman or any Committee member.

Management of GFAA Tools and Machinery: Various people have kindly donated gardening tools and machinery to the Association. Mike Fairhurst has made an inventory of all the equipment and identified it as belonging to GFAA. This equipment is stored in one of the metal containers and is for any plot-holder to use. It was agreed  that the best way to give everyone access to the equipment was to put a combination padlock on the container with the same code as the site entrance padlocks. Among the items is a generator, rotovator and a petrol mower all of which need some repair. If anyone feels they could assist in checking and repairing these units please contact the Committee.

Display Board for Scotland In Bloom: The Council asked the Association if they would provide a display board for the recent Scotland in Bloom competition. The purpose of the board was to showcase to the judges, the work of community groups and allotments in helping to keep Scotland beautiful. We duly provided the board and a replica of it is or will be fixed to the plot notice board.

Communal Activities on Site: It was agreed that we should arrange a pruning session for this year.

Action: Secretary

It was agreed that we should have a site bonfire after the pruning session – date to be notified by e-mail.

Action: Secretary

It was suggested that a work w/e should be arranged to tackle bothy clean-out, hedge trimming. tidying of the large storage bins, pothole filling and so on. Date to be set.



BBQ and Raffle: Rupert Hunt and Ruth Evans very kindly offered to organise this event which will be held on Sunday 6th October.   An e-mail will be circulated nearer the time.                      Action: Secretary

Selling Plot Produce: The Chairman read out some of the most recent bulletin from The Allotment Market Stall (TAMS) which had been running for 4 weeks with one week to go. A wide variety of produce was collected from allotments around the city and sold at the Castlegate on Fridays and Saturdays. The final report detailing quantities sold and cash generated is awaited.

AOB: The Chairman referred to an e-mail he received from the Council regarding a free talk about Permaculture run by Aberdeen Forward. The meeting expressed no interest.

There was some discussion regarding the new houses being built adjacent to our site particularly with regard to the plots being overlooked. The meeting felt that the presence of the houses might be a bonus or a blight depending on your point of view. The strip of land between the houses and our site boundary wall is full of rose-bay willow herb and members wanted to know what was the intention for this strip of land. The Chairman agreed to find out from the Site Agent.

Action: Chairman

The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting at 8-40pm.

Page 18 of 20

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