Diary

Apologies for Absence, November AGM and Veg of the Month.

Apologies for the absence of posts over the last few weeks and herewith a quick catch-up:

  • The Celebration this year went off well – everyone who came seemed to enjoy themselves. It was a pleasure giving out the various awards. People enjoyed listening to Plotholders’ Question time, especially accompanied by sitting down to tea and cake. Many thanks to everyone who contributed to making the event a success.

Sept Celeb

 

Sept Celeb 2

  • We have had two enquiries for advice and support from newly formed allotment associations in the Greater Glasgow area which is encouraging. We were able to put both groups in touch with Alister Smith at Croftburn who has recently been involved in the business of setting up a new committee and agreeing a constitution.
  • The September Workshop resulted in developing a strategy for drawing together committee members from allotments across Glasgow to discuss current and future issues in regard to the role and management of the City’s sites. We expect to issue invitations in all three areas of the city in January and to have a report for you all ready in March.
  • Two representatives from GAF will be attending a short life working group producing a Training  Handbook for people new to food growing.

Don’t forget that it is our AGM on Thursday Nov 7th . See all the details here in the attached flyer  AGM 2019 Flyer

Veg of the Month – Winter Squash and Pumpkin

pumpkin

At the third attempt of sowing courgettes we thought we might try growing squash and pumpkin as a possible substitute. We planted them out in the hotbed. The pumpkin is the more compact plant of the two and tends not to wander and putting straw underneath each gourd provides some protection. The winter squash has multiple stems and wanders everywhere. You can decide whether you want it to along the ground, or fences producing fruit on several stems or to train them up a trellis and prune secondary growth. Once squash begin to appear on plants growing along a fence or a trellis, provide support by tying each one to the structure with some strong twine.

By late summer the squash was in vigorous growth trailing along the fence, with a few flowers but the fruit were only the size of tennis balls. Not that promising. The pumpkin had one bright orange fruit, also the size of a tennis ball. The plants seemed to doolittle and dally over the summer. However perseverance seems to be the name of the game. Squashes can take between to 3 to 5 months to grow fully. The first frost killed off the foliage revealing one bright orange pumpkin the size of a football and five squash of equal size. They all passed the ‘tap’ test –to see if there is a hollow sound which indicates that the pumpkin or squash has ripened.

Winter squash and pumpkins have a much thicker skin than marrows, so these varieties are good for storage. Indeed they can be stored for several months, sometimes years! Like the marrow, pumpkin and squash are versatile vegetables and can be used in a variety of dishes both savoury and sweet. Pumpkin pie as a dessert is a staple dish in the USA. Pumpkin combines well with apple. It also makes a great ingredient in pasta dishes. When you cut open a pumpkin or squash remove the seeds from the stringy pulp, then washed, dried and tossed in olive oil and salt the two halves can be roasted.

Growing

Sow seeds in pots in mid to late spring indoors and let them germinate. The plants may well outgrow their pots, if so transfer them into larger pots. Harden off the plants once the threat of frost is over. Plant them out using cloches or large plastic bottles (a way of recycling) to protect the plants. Although each plant has female and male flowers there needs to be cross-pollination from another plant to set fruit so once the plants are established remove the covers to encourage pollinating insects.

Marrows, squash and pumpkins all benefit from a well composted ground, regular watering and some kind of liquid fertiliser feed. We used a liquid comfrey manure made from comfrey leaves harvested from the plot and left to rot down in a barrel of water. Some well-rotted compost can act as a mulch which helps to retain moisture as well as acting as a valuable source of nutrients.

Christine Forde

 

Saturday’s Workshop on Governance Update

For those of you attending Saturday’s workshop on Governance the main thing for the meeting is to be familiar with your own constitution, rules and regulations etc. and what your plotholders and committee experience/feel about issues of maintenance, communication, conflict resolution and support with regard to both the committee’s functioning and the relationship with Glasgow City Council as landlord.

If you want to look at the guidance given to local authorities about allotments under the Community Empowerment Act you’ll find 2 documents on the Resources page – just scroll down to the heading Policy.

Asking Your Plotholding Questions & the Celebration Programme, Themes for the Governance Workshop and the Food Strategy.

 Celebration of Allotments: Plotholders’ Question Time.

Send in your  questions for Plotholders’ Question Time on the afternoon of September 28th at St Margaret’s Episcopal Church.

Just  drop us an email giving the name of your allotment site and your question.

Questions.jpg

Question 2.jpg

The programme for the afternoon is:

2.0                  Doors open

2.30 – 3.00    Plotholders’ Question Time

3.15                ADAs awards

3.30                New Plotholders’ Awards

The Celebration will take place at St Margaret’s Episcopal Church on Kilmarnock Road, G43 2DS from 2-4.30 pm.

 

The Governance Workshop

The purpose of the workshop on Saturday September 21st is to look to the future governance of GCC allotments given the implementation of the Community Empowerment Act (CEA). The agenda will be covering such things as:

•          clarifying the relation between Associations and the Council – roles & responsibilities of both parties

•          constitutions – what sort of common framework do we want – what should be down to local variation

•          conflict resolution – roles and responsibilities

•         limits of delegation of responsibility for waiting lists given the 5 year maximum rule

•         managing plot sizes in response to members’ needs specifically the allocation of plots when an association member wants to either downsize or upsize.

•        communication and transparency (accountability of the City Council under the terms of the CEA).

The purpose of the meeting is to gather the views of Association representatives about their future governance under the terms of the Community Empowerment Act. These provisions will affect all sites that are owned or leased by Glasgow City Council.

Food Strategy

During  her talk on September 5th Abi Morden mentioned the Food Strategy which is being developed by the Good Food for All partnership. They are looking for input into the following themes:

                 1. FOOD POVERTY & FAIR FOOD FOR ALL

                 2. COMMUNITY FOOD (with a link to Food Growing)

                 3. FOOD PROCUREMENT & CATERING

                 4. FOOD ECONOMY

                 5. ENVIRONMENT & FOOD WASTE

                 6. FOOD FOR CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE

If you are interested please get in touch with Abi – abi@mordin.net

Low Tech Rainwater Harvesting, New Working Group on Site Governance and September’s Minutes

Low Tech Rainwater Harvesting (while we’re having this summer of downpours!!)

When we got our plot we inherited a rainwater collection system behind our shed which gives us  four large barrels of water to draw from.

Rain Pic 3

It’s a very simple syphoning system which has worked really well for us over the ten years we’ve had our plot. It can obviously be adapted to run with either 2 or 3 barrels as well.

If you’re interested you can find more information  here Low Tech Rainwater Harvesting  (There are also articles/videos about syphoning systems for collecting rainwater on the web)

New Short Life Working Group : Future Governance of Glasgow’s Allotment Sites

We would very much like to get representatives from all the local authority sites across the City to join in this discussion if they can. The first meeting will take place on Saturday September 21stst 10.00 am – 12.30 pm at the Tron Church on Buchanan Street (coffee and lunch provided).

The purpose of the first meeting of this group on Saturday September 21st is:

a) To gather the views of association representatives about their future governance under the terms of the Community Empowerment Act. These provisions will affect all sites that are owned or leased by Glasgow City Council.

b) To agree an agenda for a short life working group which will make recommendations about the way ahead as part of a review of Glasgow’s allotments.

c) To agree the dates and venue for a series of 4 meetings over the winter season in order to carry out this work.

Please contact Jenny (use this website’s contact) if you would like to join the group.

(See also the previous post on August 15th – “Meeting GCC’  to catch up with some of the background issues)

The draft minutes for the GAF meeting on September 5th and Sandy’s latest report can be found on the Resources page.

Jamming, Bottling, Pickling and Baking, Sept 5th : Roots to Market – future of food growing in Glasgow and the business agenda.

The harvest is in full swing on the plot which means it’s also a busy time in the kitchen.

Jam,pickle.JPG

If you are jamming, bottling, pickling and baking over the next few weeks please spare a thought for bringing  a sample or two of  your harvest to the Celebration of Glasgow Allotments on Saturday 28thSeptember (details see poster on  Events page). Your contributions will be very welcome.

We will be offering fresh veg and fruit and preserves on our stall at the event along with baking at the café.  Get in touch with us if you have any queries.

We could also do with volunteers to help on the day with setting up etc. Please get in touch with Jan Macdonald  (jan.lynne2303@gmail.com) if you think you can lend us a hand.

Thursday Sept 5th Meeting at Garnethill Multicultural Centre 7 – 9pm

7 – 8 pm               Roots to Market  Abi Morden

8 – 9 pm               Business agenda:

  • Apologies
  • Minutes of July meeting
  • Celebration of Allotments
  • Short life Working Group  (opening event morning of Saturday 21stSeptember)
  • Updates:
    1. Community Learning Exchange visit
    2. Calendar
    3. Items for AGM
  • AOB

Open days and a reading list

Just a quick note to say the list of Allotments Open Days has been updated on the  Events Page – there’s a new entry from Berridale Allotments who are holding their Annual Show on September 7th.

In addition Alister Smith from Croftburn has sent us a reading list that their committee gives out to new plotholders (also relevant to those of us who already have a plot). The books he recommends are all available from the Library and are about growing and using what you grow in the kitchen.  You’ll find the list on the New Plotholders Page. 

The ADAs Awards, Peas and Beans, and a poster to advertise the Celebration of Allotments

The ADAs presentations on Friday August 16thmade for a very enjoyable event. The presentations stimulated lively discussions about the various proposals which were both informative and encouraging. This event really encourages an exchange of ideas and experiences about the way ahead for sites across Glasgow. It is exciting to hear about how various sites are setting about contributing to a more sustainable future for the City through their activities.  The awards for this year go to:

Croftburn Allotments for the South Area of the City,

Reidvale Allotment for the North East and

Hamiltonhill Allotments for the North West.

Cheques for £500 will be presented to the winners at the September 28thCelebration of Allotments .

 Veg of the Month: Peas and Runner Beans

bff83fbbedfcb1c3486de5e7192a6034.jpgAt this time of year peas and beans are important vegetables on the allotment.The pea harvest has always been a key source of protein as well as carbohydrate. Many varieties of peas can grow well in Scotland and the choice really depends on what you want to use them for: whether you want to produce delicate mangetout for stir fries or salads, or sweet garden peas for freezing, or peas, such as marrowfat, to preserve for later use by drying. Like potatoes, there are early peas as well as a maincrop.

You can start the pea and bean seeds in the greenhouse, polytunnel or even on a windowsill. Sow in peas in waves so you have a crop throughout the summer. Peas and beans like light and sunshine. You can grow them in a patch or around a set of sticks set up like a tepee. Runner beans need more elaborate structures up to 6-8 foot high.

One of the delights of summer is pea and lettuce soup. Braising the lettuce in a touch of butter it until it begins to brown and then blending this with cooked peas and and a few mint leaves makes a refreshing soup. We often discard the peapods. However you can use them to make a good pea stock. Wash, trim and cook the peapods. Then blend and finally strain away the liquid, removing the stringy parts of the peapod. This stock can be used for making soups or added to dishes like risotto.

Runner beans are beginning to climb up the beanpoles with their characteristic red flowers. Picking the small tender beans soon after they form is ideal. Regular harvesting keeps the plants producing. Runner beans can crop heavily and by September you may start to run out of ideas of what to do with them. We left one plant to grow ripe beans – which had a pinky, purple pattern. We used these like barolotti beans – a useful way of dealing with the glut.

Once the peas and beans are finished, cut back the growth and put this in the compost bin. The roots have a nitrogen-fixing bacteria so dig these into the bed. You can also use left over pea seeds as winter manure.

Christine Forde

 

A5 posters for the Celebration of Allotments – please print off the attached file and circulate to advertise the event. Celeb Poster 2 x A5