Grow Greener with Garthdee Field Allotments Association

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Aberdeen in Bloom 2020

The City Council as announced that the Aberdeen in Bloom Annual Garden Competition cannot go ahead this year. A great pity, but no surprise.

Instead, the Council is holding a photo competition and exhibition to celebrate our gardens, green spaces and allotments. Lorna for the Council has been in touch with the details. Here they are.

Celebrate Aberdeen In Bloom 2020
It is time to Celebrate Aberdeen in Bloom and we are looking for photos from you to help show the beauty, diversity and wildlife in Aberdeen’s gardens.
Instead of the annual garden competition, which is cancelled due to coronavirus, we ask that you send in photographs showing your work in six themes – make or design a scarecrow, garden wildlife, favourite viewpoint, splash of colour, home-grown dish, and proud of my planting.
Any resident of Aberdeen can take part so encourage your friends and family to take part – there is no age restriction for submitting photographs.
The intent is that the photos would be used in an exhibition later in the year, when Government restrictions allow. In the meantime you will be able to see a selection of submissions at the Celebrate Aberdeen in Bloom facebook page Celebrate-Aberdeen-in-Bloom
The photographs should be sent to showing work in the following themes:

  • Make or Design a Scarecrow
    Submit image of your own scarecrow, built from materials only limited by your imagination. Use recycled /upcycled materials and get creative. Alternatively submit an image of your design for one.
  • Garden Wildlife
    Submit your favourite photograph of wildlife in your garden or nearby green space. Could be butterflies on a buddleia flower, birds feeding on nearby shrubs, or trees or insects foraging a compost pile.
  • Favourite Viewpoint
    Choose your very favourite outdoor space in your garden or green space and tell us why in no more than 200 words? Accompany with a photograph.
  • Splash of Colour
    Take a snapshot of your favourite flower, leaf or vegetable which injects colour into your life, the brighter the better.
  • Home Grown Dish
    Send in a picture of your meal produced from your own grown vegetables. Meal ideas and broad outline recipes can be included, with a 200-word restriction.
  • Proud of my Planting
    A category to represent anyone young or old to the pleasures of planting seeds or cuttings. A picture of your favourite and a description of 200 words maximum preferred but not essential.
    Please remember to tell us which category best fits each photograph you are submitting.
    This will be an ongoing celebration and a closing date will be determined at a later date, depending on coronavirus restriction.
    We look forward to seeing what you have been up to, and what is important to you, in the garden and let’s all Celebrate Aberdeen in Bloom.

So, over to you – let’s make sure Garthdee Field Allotments support the Council’s efforts and adds a proper splash of colour!

Soil Conditioner for sale

Please see the note below which Pat passed on to me from Angus Craig. I’m happy to receive any notes of interest and organise a delivery if that’s possible – i.e. if there is demand is for 80 bags. Stuart (Plot 8)

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, essential in a dry year like this.

This is the only soil conditioner of its kind for sale in Scotland which I am selling for £4/bag for a 20kg bag. So far I have had a few big orders a bit further afield than Peterhead, however if I can fill my trailer (80 bags) I am willing to deliver further afield within Aberdeenshire. It would be greatly appreciated if you could pass on some of this information to allotment reps.

Kind regards, Angus Craig


Bothy Spring Refurb

GFAA has secured funding which will allow the Bothy to be re-purposed and refurbished. We submitted a bid to NHS Grampian’s Neighbourhood Health, Health Improvement Fund and have recently heard that we have been successful.

Our entirely new initiative for the Bothy is called, “The Potting Shed Plus Project” and seeks to extend our long-standing commitment to active community engagement and spread the health benefits of outdoor working beyond those who have plots and out into the wider community. The “Plus” in the title refers to the fact that the project will support both Gardening and DIY learning activities.

This new project will provide a year-long programme of structured tutorials and associated open-access workshop sessions on gardening and outdoor DIY delivered through hands-on learning-by-doing.

During the summer months, tutorials and workshop sessions will focus on gardening skills and communal growing. Over the rest of the season, activities will focus on Do It Yourself work generally and specifically on small-scale woodworking and garden equipment repair projects.

These will aim to support an appreciation of being and working out of doors in nature and associated health benefits. Examples include: building greenhouse staging, planters, storage systems, benches and tables, bird boxes, cold frames, bug hotels etc. and repairing hand tools and other equipment. These will be used on site and made available to local community organisations.

The Potting Shed Plus Project will bring all sorts of benefits:

  • healthy outdoor activities for all participants
  • increased opportunities for our volunteers
  • an inclement-weather workspace
  • inter-generational learning activities
  • better and greener-growing practices
  • further recruitment to our Volunteer Squad
  • bringing more visitors to our site
  • use by plotters outwith scheduled classes and workshops.

If you think you might be able to help with the refurbishment work or the programme please get in touch with a member the GFAA Committee.

GFAA gratefully thank NHS Grampian for their support and funding of The Potting Shed Plus Project.

Spring Blooms

Seeds and Compost Galore!

Spring will soon be upon us and it will be seed sowing time again. There is no excuse not to be ready with free and cheap seeds available from lots of sources for GFAA plotters.

Our Seed Swop area in the Octagon has had a Spring spruce up and has lots of veggie, herb and flower seeds ‘in stock’. Please feel free to help yourself to what you need, especially if you can bring along some of your own surplus seeds to swop. Thanks go to Raymond (Plot 95a) for adding some exciting new seeds.

Free Seeds

If you don’t find what you need in the Octagon seed swop, don’t forget that as a GFAA plotter you can buy from Dobies the Seed Merchant and get 40% off your bill for seeds (and 10% off everything else in their catalogue. There are copies of their catalogue along with a letter with our unique Discount code in the Octagon. Remember the code MUST be USED at the point of purchase or no discount is possible. You get 40% off and GFAA gets a further 10% of your spend for our funds. It’s a win win.

Treat yourself to something special at a discount

The very popular Tarland Seed Swop is another great way of getting something special at a bargain price. Thanks go to Val (Plot 23) fr this reminder.

A Great Day Out

Finally, GFAA has just secured two more tractor loads of ex-Hazlehead Compost for use by our Plotters. The new load is not quite as ‘clean’ as the first consignment, but it is still excellent, mature stuff. Help yourself, but please take a bag or bucket with you for any bits of branch, or debris you might find while filling your barrow. Please don’t leave the rejected waste to be blown about and make the site look unsightly.

Brown Gold by the tipper full

Free Shelving Units

Roll up, roll up! First Come, first served. Form an orderly queue please!

GFAA have been gifted a number of industrial shelving units. We need to thank Murray from SANMAC, the company concerned, and Keith Slater who facilitated matters and transported the units to Garthdee Field for us.

The units are tall as you can see, made of metal and designed to last a lifetime. the shelves are adjustable. Obviously, they are pre-loved, as they say today. If you have a Container they will fit height-wise and of course they can be cut down in height if necessary. They are likely to be especially useful for plotters with Containers, metal or plastic sheds – but they are on offer to any and all.

If you are interested, register your interest in a comment below or text or phone Norman on 07702127346. They are free, but if once you see them, you feel a donation to GFAA funds is appropriate, then such a gesture will be much appreciated.

The volunteer squad will be pleased to deliver to your plot and cut them to size if necessary.

As I said, first come first served! We have about 10 units.

Get busy buzzing in the new year

Thanks go to Sepi on Plot 85 for suggesting this post.

This beekeeping course is offered by Aberdeen and District Beekeepers’ Association. Further information on the Council’s Beekeeping policy is available via the Advice Link above. Plotters are advised to check with Pat Wilson first if they are thinking of getting into beekeeping on site.

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