Grow Greener with Garthdee Field Allotments Association

Tag: Compost Page 1 of 2

Compost: A Valuable Resource

The benefits of making your own compost are well known. The best compost requires the right blend of green and brown materials added in layers. Making your own on your plot removes the need to cart weeds and the like off site for disposal.

During the Summer we have on site plenty of free-to-all grass cuttings. These are to be found in a bin in the South-East corner of the site.

The materials in the white bags seen in the photo are coffee grounds. C-Fine deliver these grounds to us weekly. Many plotters consider coffee grounds to be a useful addition when compost making.

Please feel free to help yourself to these materials. There is nothing quite like grass cuttings to heat up and speed up your compost making.

The materials on the right side of the bin are seedy weeds dumped in the bin by a plotter. This is very disappointing. Plotters are best to compost their own weeds, or failing that, take them off site for disposal via their brown bins. They must not be dumped around the site or in communal bins.

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.

Soil improver delivery

Soil Conditioner Arrival

The Volunteer Squad was on hand to help today when Angus Craig arrived with the expected 130 plus bags of soil conditioner.

Here’s how Angus describes his product:

I have some 100% natural soil conditioner that I’ve been using on our farm and at home in our poly tunnel seeing great results. The conditioner is a by-product of the Buchan Biogas Anaerobic Digestion plant that is on our farm. The conditioner is made from precision chopped plant matter which has had the methane gas extracted from it to supply Peterhead homes with domestic gas. Meaning the conditioner is 100% renewable and better for the environment than artificially produced soil conditioner whilst still providing high levels of NPK. 

The conditioner is a great source of organic matter, ideal for improving soil structure and improving plants ability to hold on to moisture. 

This is the only soil conditioner of its kind for sale in Scotland which I am selling for £4 a bag. So far I have had a few big orders a bit further afield than Peterhead, however if I can fill my trailer I am willing to deliver further afield within Aberdeenshire. It would be greatly appreciated if you could pass on some of this information to your plotters.

Kind regards, Angus Craig

Plotters who missed out on the original offer are welcome to contact Stuart Oram (Plot 8) with new requests as we may well have another delivery in the weeks ahead.

Community Climate Asset Fund Award for GFAA

The Community Climate Asset Fund (CCAF) is a funded programme from Scottish Government run by Keep Scotland Beautiful. CCAF aims to:

  • Build on the invaluable role that community based organisations are playing in Scotland’s response to COVID-19
  • Support community groups to play a prominent role in the Green Recovery
  • Provide capital funding to community based organisations to help them tackle climate change as we accelerate our just transition to a net zero society
  • Complement funding provided through the Climate Challenge Fund and other community and place based initiatives
  • Help communities to reduce usage of petrol and diesel cars, cut waste, grow local food and reduce emissions from community buildings.

Following an application made in November, GFAA is pleased to announce the award of just over £3000 for the purchase of capital assets for our allotment. Our bid centred on making our operations greener by:

  • the retention of rainwater to reduce the amount of tap water used
  • increased use of a wider range of compostable materials produced on plots
  • reducing the amount of plot waste burned on site
  • increasing the contribution our community makes to producing more locally grown food.

The award has enabled us to purchase a small wood chipping machine which we will use to chip prunings from around the site and so reduce the amount of material being burnt and hence the amount of carbon produced.

We have also purchased 1000 litre rainwater storage tanks which we will use to reduce the consumption on site of town water supplies.

If you are interested in getting involved with any of these activities please get in touch with myself or any member of the Committee.

Increasing composting and reducing the amount of green materials burned were recommendations made in our recent Green Flag Award evaluation, and it is very pleasing to be able to make a start on this agenda thanks to the CCAF funding.

Pistols at Dawn

Irene’s persistent insubordination caused a wee bit of a fracas amongst the volunteers this week, but all was resolved by a traditional duel in the rain.

In the end nobody got shot, not even a deer (yet).

In between we even managed to get some work done.

The new bin will be used for grass cuttings in the coming season. Plotters are welcome to take them at add to their plot compost bins. They are great for generating heat in a new pile – when used sparingly.

All in all it has been a great week and our volunteers have again excelled themselves in their efforts on our behalf. Thanks go to all involved.

Alpaca Poo Pricing Consternation

Apparently negotiations took on Brexit-like tensions at one point during the delivery of our first consignment of Alpaca Poo.

Nah, only kidding, all went smoothly and everyone seems pleased with their deliveries. Hopefully, we will see more deliveries on the future. Thanks go to Mari-Anne (Plot 49) for getting this in place.

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