What follows on this page is advice specific to  allotment holders on Garthdee Field.  If you are a beginner or indeed experienced plotter an excellent “one-stop-shop” to all aspects of general advice on allotments in the UK  is available on the All About Allotments site.

Advice to Members
These pointers are taken from the GFAA annual letter (February 2020 Edition) and the Council’s Allotment Guidance Notes. All allotment holders at Garthdee Field are members of Garthdee Field Allotments Association (GFAA).

Site Access
There are two entrances to the site, the main vehicle entrance off Garthdee Road and a pedestrian entrance beside Pitfodels Road. The other vehicle access is adjacent to Pitfodels Road. The vehicle accesses have either a chain or low-level barrier across the opening secured with a combination padlock. There is also an overhead barrier with a combination lock code. Please note that all combination locks on site have the same code (please ask). If you think you are last to leave the site any day please ensure that the chain and overhead barrier are in place and locked.

GFAA and Funding
Among other things, the purpose of the Association is to manage and supervise allotments at Garthdee Field for the benefit of the members of the Association and to provide support for the members in pursuit of their activities.

We work in partnership with Aberdeen City Council to achieve the best outcomes for our members on matters affecting the management and supervision of the allotments.

While the Committee’s fundraising efforts for development are ongoing we would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that we need support from all our allotment holders to provide funds for the general maintenance and improvement of our site. These funds are spent on such things as fuel for the ride-on mower to maintain the orchard, toilet consumables, communal tool storage, noticeboard improvements etc.  A donation form is available to download.

Allocation of plots
Phil Wilkie is responsible for the Association’s liaison with the City Council concerning plot audits and inspections and the allocation of plots.

The process for obtaining an allotment at Garthdee Field begins with the City Council who will allocate a micro-plot, as they become available, to people on the Council’s waiting list. The purpose of the micro-plot is to enable the new plot-holder, the Association and the City Council to evaluate whether or not the new plot-holder can manage the micro-plot, and is ready to progress to either a half-plot or a full-size plot when they become available. Micro-plot holders are encouraged to attend at least one Community Sunday working session to network with other plotters.

Anyone with a full-plot who would like to downsize to a half-plot, or to up-size from a smaller plot should contact Phil.

The final decision on the allocation of allotments rests with the City Council.

Micro Plots
As agreed with Aberdeen City Council, the Association reserve all the micro plots for use by new entrants on a temporary basis only, to establish whether or not they can manage a larger plot. When a suitable larger plot becomes available the micro-plot holder will be required to move to the larger plot. The working area of a micro-plot is small and plot-holders are asked to avoid creating semi permanent paths with bark or other materials. Micro-plots are for short term tenancy only and it is important that the whole area is maintained with a ready potential for growing when the plot tenancy changes.

Allotments Representative Network
The City Council has established a network of representatives from all the allotment sites in Aberdeen who meet twice a year to discuss with the City Council matters affecting the allotments and the allotment holders. The Garthdee Field Allotments Association is currently represented on this network by Stuart Oram and Phil Wilkie.

Site Facilities
The octagonal wooden building in the middle of the orchard is our Outdoor Classroom/Shelter which also serves as a social meeting space and is for the use of all allotment holders. We generally refer to this building as the Octagon. There is a “bothy“ beside the containers nearest the site entrance. Plans are underway to refurbish the bothy as a Workshop.

A wheelchair accessible toilet has recently been installed beside the orchard not far from the Octagon.  We have a dry compost toilet which is situated beside the steel containers at the top of the site.

Water Taps
There are water taps at several places on site adjacent to the access tracks. Please be sure to turn off the tap when you’re finished. If a tap is faulty please advise a committee member. We usually turn off the water supply when the frosts set in and restore supply as soon as the frosts are past. Please note that water taps have been identified as likely vectors for COVID-19 transmission and should be used with due care.

Leaves, Wood-chips, Grass-clippings and Road Planings
At the top and bottom of the site are large storage bins for leaves and wood-chips. Please help yourself. We try to keep supplies available throughout the year.
About once or twice a year we obtain a consignment of road planings to fill up any pot-holes on the site. When you see that the material is available please use it to fill in any pot-holes near you. Plantings are deposited at the top of the site.

Tool Stores
One of the steel containers near Plot 2E has been marked with GFAA on the door. The container is fitted with a combination padlock with the same code as all other site padlocks ie **** (please ask). A few spare gardening tools are kept inside for anyone to use. Please clean and return them when you’re finished. Please note that shared tools have been identified as likely vectors for COVID-19 transmission and should be used with due care.

An additional padlocked tool store opposite Plot 37 is used for GFAA Volunteers’ tools and equipment.

Potting tables are available in Plot 20 (RGU Student Union) poly-tunnel for those without a greenhouse. Please leave the tables clear after use, as these are required for RGU and Primary School visits. If you wish to make use of the poly-tunnel please contact Susan Wilkie Plot 35 who will provide guidance for all users. Please note that polytunnels have been identified as likely vectors for COVID-19 transmission and should be used with due care.

Community Garden
The Association and our partners, RGU Faculty of Health and Social Care and ACC have developed the community garden at the bottom of the site. The garden incorporates the orchard, a primary school plot and various raised beds. Please make use of fruit from the orchard in season. The primary school plot is used by Kaimhill primary school and the raised beds are for use by RGU.  Adjacent to the Community Garden is the New Horizons Nursery Plot.

Parking on Site
There are three main parking areas on site – an area on the right as you enter through the main entrance, an area at the top of the site beside the containers and an area next to Pitfodels Road beside that entrance. As a matter of courtesy and consideration for other plot-holders, PLEASE DO NOT PARK ON OR OBSTRUCT THE ACCESS ROADS.

Allotment Waste
All waste from an allotment must be dealt with by each allotment holder within their own allotment. Compost bins are ideal for this and a walk around the site will give some idea of the various styles of compost bins being used. If you don’t have a compost bin then the next best thing is to make a heap of the compost material in a corner of your allotment. An old carpet to cover the heap will help the composting process and stop more weeds growing on top.

Some material is difficult to compost such as brussels sprout and sweetcorn stalks which are a bit woody. The brussels sprout stalks can be bashed with a hammer to break them down prior to composting and the sweetcorn stalks can be dried and burnt. Alternatively, you can put them in a plastic sack and dispose of them at home in the appropriate domestic wheelie bin or at a Council recycling facility.

If there is anything you don’t want to compost such as old potatoes, brassica with club-root and onion with allium rot, couch grass and pernicious weeds like ground elder, then you should take it home and dispose of it in the appropriate wheelie bin or at a Council recycling facility. Some material such as prunings and rasp canes can be burnt.

Over time each allotment does accumulate some general waste such as corrugated iron, stones, glass and plastic. Again, this should be removed from your allotment and disposed of at a Council recycling facility.

If you want to discuss the arrangements for dealing with allotment waste or if you don’t have transport to remove material from the site please contact any Committee member who will do their best to help. WHATEVER YOU DO, PLEASE DON’T REMOVE MATERIAL FROM YOUR PLOT AND DUMP IT ELSEWHERE ON THE SITE.

Please be careful when burning plot waste. Due consideration must be given to the impact of smoke drifting towards any houses adjacent to the site and the Deeside Line. Burning green waste creates a lot of smoke and should be avoided. The City Council advise that the Fire Brigade be informed if a bonfire is planned. Common-sense has to be applied.

We usually have an annual communal bonfire at the beginning of spring with the material being collected at the top of the site during the winter. Please note that only material suitable for burning should be collected eg fruit tree and bush prunings and wood — no plastics or brussels sprout stalks or carpets.

The growing of ornamental trees on an allotment is not permitted. However, fruit trees grown on dwarfing rootstock is acceptable. There are trees on some allotments which have self-seeded and been allowed to grow. They are very intrusive, the roots dry out the soil and very likely encroach on neighbouring plots. Any opportunity should be taken to remove such trees.

Greenhouses and Poly-tunnels
The Council advise that the area occupied on an allotment by either a greenhouse or a poly-tunnel should not exceed 2.4m x 1.8m. Permission to exceed these dimensions has to be obtained in advance and in writing from the Council.

Marking of Plots
Please ensure that your allotment is conspicuously marked with the plot number.
This facilitates the periodic inspection of plots by both the Council and the Association and avoids confusion for deliveries of manure etc.

Garthdee Field Allotments Association January 2021