Garthdee Allotments

Grow Greener with Garthdee Field Allotments Association

A Food Forest in your Garden by Alan Carter

It’s a real pleasure to review this title from a local Aberdeen author, Alan Carter. Alan is a plotter here in Aberdeen and this is (I believe) his first published book.

A few years ago (2018) I attended a Forest Gardening course Alan hosted on his allotment. It was a hugely enjoyable day, but a challenging one. I was a traditional plotter and the Forest Gardening approach undermined most of the ideas I had about growing vegetables.

Alan Carter in his Forest Garden allotment

I came away from the course keen to try out the methods I had seen, but since then I have struggled to make them work for me. I needed a “roadmap”: Alan’s new book will provide just that.

Spoiler alert: I think, “A Food Forest for your Garden” is an exceptional book. I am not alone: the book has attracted a bevy of admirers from within the community of food forest and permaculture growers. Alan has lived, breathed, trialled and adapted these methods for years and this shines through in his writing. The book is part bible, part manual and part memoir with all the authenticity and authority you could ask for. Oh, and with a rich dollop of humour thrown in for good measure.

I only have one reservation about the book – and that is its using the phrase “Food Forest” in the title. It may confuse some and put others off. Don’t be put off by it. Alan does a great job of explaining where it comes from, what its history is and how it works for gardeners. Everybody who has enjoyed lifting a shaw of tatties, or lamented the failure of their parsnips will enjoy reading this book and learn from it.

So what does it offer us plotters? These are the take-aways that stand out for me.

  • It will take your no-dig gardening practice and understanding to whole new heights. Conserving soil structure lies at the core of forest gardening.
  • If you are interested in adding more perennial veggies into your beds you could not find better advice. Alan lists a directory of hundreds of edible plants chosen because they are suitable for growing in Scotland.
  • It will help you extend the growing season beyond the short Scottish Summer and show new possibilities all year round.
  • You will be freed from the chore of endless weeding and trying to keep black earth black and weed-free. In the established forest garden annual weeds can’t find much a foothold.
  • There is money to be saved too through saving seeds and encouraging volunteer plants.
  • Alan provides a kitchen’s worth of personal recipes and advice on how to get the best out of each harvest.

Look on the book as an encyclopedia of how to design, create and manage your new garden. It is also lavishly illustrated with excellent photos, many taken by Alan on his own plot.

So, what’s not to like? Nothing. Do yourself a favour and ask Santa to pop a copy into your Christmas Stocking. It will make for a delightful dip-in read over the Christmas hols, then take its place on your shelves for years to come as a much used reference book.

Copies are available via Alan’s Own Website

Or from Amazon via this link.

Or for all good bookshops: Published by Permanent Publications in 2021 with IBSN 1856232999.

Speedsters on Site

These three kids were seen this week racing around our site at ridiculous speeds approaching two miles an hour. The big kid, believed to be the ringleader, was spoken to and issued with 15 Penalty Points on his wheelbarrow licence and a verbal warning that such blatant fun-seeking will not be tolerated – unless we all get a shottie.

Graham, Kenny and Duncan

Say hello to Ruth

Ruth is a First Year student of General Agriculture with SRUC out at Craibstone. Today was her first visit to Garthdee Field, but she will be a frequent visitor in future we hope, coming to help Gill (Plot 64) on her allotment.

I am sure we all want to welcome Ruth to GFAA and hope that she enjoys her time with us.

Garden for your health’s sake

Val (Plot 23) has been back in touch to suggest this edition of the Gardeners’ World Podcast.

Michael Moseley reviews the evidence of the health benefits of gardening

Description

Can we boost our immune systems and wellbeing through gardening? We hear from TV medic Michael Mosley how gardeners can benefit their health every time we’re in the garden.


Wasps – more loveable than we think

Val (Plot 23) lead us into an interesting discussion at our General Meeting today. It seems that wasps are much maligned and far from the out and out baddies that some suggest. You can read something of the case for the defence via this link.

Looking Great!

Super to see the first stage of our new paving in place and looking so good. Stuart the Builder is doing us proud.

Wheelchair-friendly and looking great.

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