Grow Greener with Garthdee Field Allotments Association

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Light my Fire!

Thursday 18 March is Bonfire Day. We will start about 10.00. Many hands will make for lighter work. We have a mountain of material to feed to the flames. As always, safety comes first. If you can manage along, please remember your gloves and the importance of having your own safety and that of others as the first priority. We will operate as a series of smaller groups throughout the day to manage numbers and keep everyone safe.

Volunteer Activities 2021

Obviously, our Volunteer Squad is stood down right now, awaiting a relaxation in the COVID Regulations that will make it possible for the volunteers to come on site as a group. We are going to review this situation at the end of this month.

Social distancing done the Garthdee Way

We ended last year with a team of 12 active volunteers. I am delighted to say that the team has remained in touch throughout the Lockdown. We had a Zoom Catchup this week and those present confirmed they are all keen to return when circumstances allow. How good it that!

We also discussed how members of the Squad might contribute in the meantime as we wait from normal group activities to recommence. We decided that as the Momentum Group (and we are unsure about Club 10) will not now be returning we will make the raised beds available to volunteers to grow their own stuff for this season (if they so choose). This will make sure that the beds are put to good use and maintained throughout the year, and that the individual volunteers can come on site to work their beds – while staying compliant with the Covid and Council Regs. Meantime, 2 beds will be retained for possible use with Club 10.

The Raised Beds in use by Club 10

Additionally, it may well be that the Primary School kids will not be able to come visit with us in the current session. We have agreed therefore, that the Volunteer Squad will plant up and maintain the Primary Plot and the plastic and metal Primary/Community Greenhouses over the season ahead. The volunteers will be able to harvest for themselves, but we anticipate healthy surpluses will be grown and these we will donate to TAMS. This will boost the TAMS dividend paid into our GFAA funds at the end of the year.

The Kaimhill Kids get to know their onions

So, in the weeks ahead you are likely to see individual volunteers working on the raised beds and the Primary plot and greenhouses: if you do I hope you will stop by and give them a word of encouragement and thanks.

Thanks go to Steve (Plot 72) and volunteers Doug and Irene for agreeing to oversee and manage the volunteers’ Primary School plot and greenhouse activities for the season ahead.

Watch out for further info on the return of the Squad to full duties when circumstances allow. If you are a GFAA Member and have a pressing need for help please use the Requests for Help link on our homepage.

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.

Our ace Volunteers: doing a great job!

Meanwhile the Volunteer Squad have lost the services of Gordon and Mike, who are unable to attend while the most recent Lockdown is in place. However, we have been lucky enough to have Ali and Irene join us over the last number of weeks and we are very grateful to them for their enthusiasm and hard work.

We had a great day on Sunday, spurred on by wonderful weather.

Ali, Stewart and Jordi – quite a lineup!

We had the help of a big team on the day – Ali, Stewart, Jordi, Callum and Irene and got masses done despite the hot weather. Over the last week or so jobs undertaken by the Squad have included:

  • seek and destroy missions against Sticky Willies on plot edges
  • weeding the Nursery plot
  • tidy up and refreshing of the Primary plastic greenhouse
  • removing barbed wire from the Southern wall/boundary
  • reinstating the sight line for drivers exiting the main entrance
  • hoeing the Octagon Path
  • spraying the areas of hard-standing, ready for weed removal
  • regular de-heading of flowers in the raised beds and around Octagon
  • regular watering of the communal greenhouses
  • weeding and adding woodchip to plot edges
  • removal of the broken compost bin by the northern carpark
  • regular weeding of the raised beds and around fruit trees
  • preparing the round picnic table by the Polytunnel
  • repair and painting of compost bins
  • Primary School compost bin turning/management
  • weekly litter picks of the whole site
  • painting of the Bothy cladding and A-frame board
  • reorganisation and tidying of the Communal Containers
  • woodchip pile management
  • Micro-plot paths weeding
  • strimming of ‘wilder’ grassy areas
  • weeding and maintenance of South and North Banks
  • tidy of North Car Park waste metal and wood ready for removal when the Public Skips open for trailers
  • giving a helping hand to injured or incapacitated plotters

This is not an exclusive list by any means and plotters have contributed their time to regular grass cutting, strimming, raised bed planting up, tree bowl trimming, entrance barrier painting and the like. My apologies to those I have not mentioned.

But the truth is, there is more to be done than we can get done at the moment. We have all sorts of jobs to be done – from 10 minute jobs to 100 minute jobs. If you have any wee bit of time you could offer, don’t be shy, ask a member of the Committee how you can help. If you could help out with the Volunteer Squad on a Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday please let me (Norman) know.

One suggestion – ‘adopt’ the path edge that borders your own plot and keep it tidy, weed-free and in a shape that does not impede or scratch cars as they pass by.

A job well done

The Volunteers Squad took on quite a challenge today sorting out the Primary Plot Compost Bins. Tough work, but the gang took it in their stride – as always. Not shown here, but fully involved, were Stewart (Plot 59) and Volunteer Irene.

Anne, Doug, Norman and Jordi.

More COVID-19 Advice

Pat Wilson has issued this information: Plotters and volunteers should read it carefully. For convenience of volunteers, some points relating to squad activities onsite have been highlighted in red.


Dear Allotment Holder

As lockdown restriction are eased, the Scottish Government have now published further guidance on the safe use of allotments and community food-growing spaces.

It is important that all guidance is followed when visiting and working in allotments in order reduce the risk associated with Coronavirus.

The main guidance points are as follows:-

People who should not visit a community food-growing site
Anyone who should self-isolate, for example because they or a member of their household have COVID-19 symptoms, or they have been advised that they have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, should follow the NHS Inform guidance and must stay at home for the period of their self-isolation and not attend a community food-growing site. Follow the guidance on self-isolation on NHS Inform.
The NHS will also now be asking people to self-isolate who do not have symptoms, but have been in close contact with someone who has been confirmed by testing to have the virus. This is part of Test and Protect – Scotland’s approach to implementing the ‘test, trace, isolate, support’ strategy. Read more about Test and Protect.
People who have been personally advised to shield by letter should follow the shielding guidance, which includes guidance on outdoor activity. This includes maintaining strict physical distancing; choosing times and areas that are quiet, if possible; washing hands for at least 20 seconds as soon returning home.
People at higher risk from Coronavirus (including people aged over 70, people who are pregnant and people with an underlying medical condition) should strictly follow physical distancing guidance.

Onsite attendance and safety at community food-growing sites
The measures contained in this guidance should, where practicable, be communicated to volunteers and users of community food-growing spaces in advance of their attendance. Local authorities and others with responsibility for community food-growing sites should ensure the following points are adhered to onsite.

Tool sharing
The sharing of tools, gloves etc is strongly discouraged due to the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Users and volunteers at sites should be encouraged to bring their own gloves. Any onsite tools should be disinfected after each use.
Communal activities/events
Indoor communal activities are not permitted at this time. Outdoor communal activities such as outdoor cooking, training activities or open days are not permitted at this time if they involve people from more than three households, and additionally they should not involve more than 8 people in total. There should be no sharing of food or utensils onsite.
Physical distancing
Compliance with physical distancing of 2 metres including, if necessary, limiting the number of people within the site at any one time and/or considering a one-way system within the site (together with any necessary signage).
Hand hygiene
People attending a community food-growing site should be reminded of the importance of handwashing before leaving home to travel to the site, and handwashing as soon as they return home. Encourage compliance with hand hygiene guidance onsite, e.g. providing hand sanitiser or suitable hand wash facilities.
Cleaning and sanitising
Regular cleaning and sanitising of any communal or frequently used areas e.g. taps and gates. The risk of transmission of COVID-19 at communal areas such as taps and gates should be highlighted via adequate signage.
Travel to site
Remind users and volunteers of the community food-growing site that they should currently not travel further than approximately 5 miles to the site for leisure or exercise purposes. However those with a specific health condition that requires travel beyond their local area to maintain health, and those with a disability who need to travel a bit further to appropriate outdoor space, can do so.
People should be encouraged to travel to the site via active travel methods such as walking or cycling, or in their own car and only with members of their own household. People should be advised to think carefully whether they need to use public transport for travel to the site.
Polytunnels/greenhouses
The use of face coverings in polytunnels and greenhouses should be encouraged where physical distancing is challenging. Air vents should be opened to maximise air flow. People must not congregate in a polytunnel, greenhouse or other onsite indoor space.

The full allotments guidance can be viewed using this link.

As per the guidance, over the next few days, signage will be placed in allotment sites to reinforce the messages with regard to the 2 metre physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough/sneeze etiquette, COVID-19 transmission and cleaning/sanitising of communal areas.

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