Garthdee Allotments

Grow Greener with Garthdee Field Allotments Association

Harlaw Planters

Over recent weeks our Volunteer Squad have been building a set of planters for Harlaw Academy’s Parent Council. The planters will be used in an outdoor social area constructed for pupil use. It was a pleasure to drop off the planters this week and meet Mr McLaren (Headteacher).

Photo Credit: Catriona Allan

Thanks go to Catriona Allan, Chair of the Parent Council for facilitating the build so well and of course to the many members of the Volunteer Squad who helped find and deconstruct the pallet materials, and build and paint the planters.

Thanks also go to the NHS Grampian Health Improvement Fund as the build would not have been possible without access to the refurbed Bothy and tools.

Thought-provoking

Happy New Year to all our plotters, volunteers and friends of GFAA. Good growing to you all in 2022!

I think this short, but powerful article will be of interest to all. It certainly got me thinking. Available via this link.

Best Ever Dobies Scheme Discount

A cheque arrived with us today.

A cheque for £112.23. This marks the best ever annual bonus from the Dobies Group Scheme for our GFAA Funds. It means that our plotters and volunteers together spent over £1000 this year on seeds and sundries from the Dobies Catalogue – while saving themselves around 40% on each order at the same time. A win-win-win I think you will agree.

Thanks go to everyone who bought from Dobies by catalogue, post or online using our code and so contributed to this very welcome addition to our annual income. The £112.23 has now been deposited in our GFAA Account.

Copies of the New Season Dobies Catalogue and necessary Discount Code are available NOW in the Octagon.

Storm Arwen Damage

Storm Arwen has brought more damage to our site than most of us can ever remember.

Certainly, others have suffered and are still suffering much great losses and inconvenience and our thoughts are with them, but you can’t help but feel that some of our plotters have been very unlucky.

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

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