Grow Greener with Garthdee Field Allotments Association

Category: Advice Page 1 of 11

Dung and/or Compost Opportunity

We were all disappointed to find that our local supply of cow dung had dried up – so to speak! We are investigating alternatives which can be delivered in bigger tonnages – of domestic green waste compost and/or manure.

The scrapping of the containers from site produced a one-off windfall for GFAA funds and we hope to make around four barrowloads of dung and/or domestic green waste compost available free of charge to GFAA members.

We fear demand my outpace supply, so requests will be fulfilled on a first come, first served basis while supplies last.

If you are interested, please leave a comment below this post with your name and plot number. The compost/dung will be delivered to your plot once it is available. This may take a few weeks to organise. Bear with us.

If things work out and there is enough interest we may try to repeat this exercise.

Hi-Tech Gardening Advice

Artificial Intelligence is much in the news – as always – and Chat GPT was until recently, and perhaps still is, flavour of the month. If you have not yet given it a go, checking it out might take your mind off this terrible weather.

I checked it out tonight asking this question: Why should I go to the bother of making my own garden compost? Here’s what it came back with:

There are many benefits of making your own garden compost, including:

  1. Improving soil quality: Garden compost is rich in nutrients and can help improve the quality of soil by providing essential organic matter and minerals.
  2. Reducing waste: Making your own garden compost is a great way to reduce the amount of kitchen and garden waste going to landfill.
  3. Saving money: Buying compost from garden centers or nurseries can be expensive, so making your own can save you money in the long run.
  4. Promoting biodiversity: Garden compost supports diverse soil life, including beneficial bacteria and fungi, which can help promote a healthy ecosystem in your garden.
  5. Sustainability: Composting is a sustainable practice that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from organic waste in landfills.

Overall, making your own garden compost is an easy and rewarding way to improve soil fertility, reduce waste, save money, and promote sustainability in your garden.

Pretty good I thought. What do you think? Then I tried what I thought might be a bit harder. I asked for suggestions for companion plant combinations that would work well in a Scottish vegetable garden. This answer came back in seconds:

As an AI language model, I don’t have personal experience or knowledge of specific locations like Scotland. However, here are some suggested companion planting combinations that can work well in vegetable gardens:

  1. Carrots, onions, and lettuce are good companions as they help repel pests such as carrot rust flies and onion maggots while the lettuce provides shade for the carrots.
  2. Tomatoes, basil, and marigolds make a great combination as basil improves the flavor of tomatoes while also repelling pests, while marigolds repel various pests.
  3. Cabbage, celery, and beets grow well together as cabbage and celery stimulate the growth of beets while repelling pests.
  4. Beans, peas, and corn form an ideal trio as beans add nitrogen to the soil, peas fix it, and corn provides support for both.
  5. Spinach, radishes, and strawberries make a great match as radishes deter aphids and strawberry moths while spinach helps to suppress weeds.

Note that these are companion planting suggestions and may not work in all circumstances, depending on your soil type, climate, and other factors. Also, remember to rotate your crops to prevent diseases and pests from building up in the soil.

OK, good. Chat knows its limitations. But can it make up a garden joke? How about a limerick? I asked for a limerick about a gardener with a bad back. Here’s what it offered:

There once was a gardener quite green,
Whose back was the weakest you’ve seen,
He’d bend and he’d twist,
But then he’d enlist,
A robot to help with the weeding.

:-) 10 out of 10! Except we at Garthdee Field use volunteers not robots. Only kidding! :-)

OK Smart Alex how about this: What do a basket of fruit and a punnet of potatoes have in common? Here’s what came back:

As an AI language model, I do not have personal opinions or beliefs, but the answer to your question is that both a basket of fruit and a punnet of potatoes are containers for storing and transporting food.

Blooming heck – there just might just be something to this. Give it a go and let us know how you get on. Link above.

Garthdee Field on High

If you have visited your allotment recently you may have been greeted by scenes like this –

All very depressing

A wee warning, if needed, that nets need to be removed from fruit cages and other vulnerable structures before winter comes, or else snow cleared from them before it turns to ice.

But this too will pass and here is a wee reminder of just how wonderful Garthdee Field looks at its best. The video was shot in mid July – as I recall. Best viewed in full screen mode.

Thanks go to Alison (Plot 80) for arranging for this aerial video to be made and to her friend, Alan Rae who programmed and flew the drone.

New Dobies (2023) Code and Update

GFAA continues to be affiliated to The Dobies Gardening Group Scheme. This means our plotters and volunteers receive discounts of 40% on seed orders and 10% on onions sets, potatoes, fruit bushes etc, when ordering with our unique code.

Additionally, GFAA receives a 10% ‘reward’ on seed orders and 5% on other qualifying purchases. We have just received our 2022 Dobies Refund payment into GFAA funds – amounting to £47.86 this year. We have been part of the scheme since November 2017. Typically we receive around £50 per year, meaning that GFAA funds have benefitted to the tune of about £250 over the years. Obviously the benefit to plotters is much more.

Copies of the new Dobies catalogue with a letter explaining the scheme and providing the new discount code will be in the Octagon by close of play today. Orders placed without the code CANNOT benefit from the scheme discounts.

Copies available in the Octagon

Thanks go to all plotters and volunteers who continue to support the scheme.


It will be bonfire day again very soon. Make sure you don’t miss the big burn. Drop off your unwanted timber and brush this week. No plastics, carpets, netting or the like please – wood only.

One potato, two …

Dear Plotters

As a token of thanks for using the polytunnel last year, One Seed Forward (OSF) is to give Garthdee a 20kg bag of Accord seed potatoes, a First Early all rounder, which will be bagged up into 1kg lots. We will receive these at the start of March, if you would like a bag please get back to me giving your plot number and they will be set aside for you. First 20 responses secure a bag.

One Seed Forward (OSF) are also carrying out a Potato Project, they are trying to record all the varieties of potato being grown in the North East this year. They have managed to get a variety of small packs of seed potatoes that will be given to people to be their Tattie Testers.

If you take a bag of First Early Accord potatoes or take part in the Potato Project it would be very much appreciated if you could give some feedback on how you got on, did you get a good yield, how did they taste? There is more information in the attached flyer about the Potato Project so if it is of interest OSF would love to have the Garthdee Allotmenteers take part.

Best regards
Anne Arthur
Secretary GFAA

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