A Message for New Plotholders


Just a reminder for those of you setting out to transform your new plot. Remember to take a photo or two of what it looks like before you work your magic to make sure you’re ready to enter for the New Plotholders’ awards later in the season.  The closing day for entries this year is Friday 28th June  and the judging will take place on Saturday 6thJuly. You’ll find all the information you need to enter the competition on the Awards page

(You can enter the competition if you took on your plot on or after January 2018)

The little drawing above is taken from the SAGS booklet Grow Your Own Allotment which you’ll find on the SAGS website – the link for which is on our Resources page, the first entry under our A – Z links heading . The booklet is full of useful tips about successfully taking on an allotment plot in Scotland.

Agenda for Our meeting on May 2nd & Merrylee’s Plant Sale on May 4th

At the GAF  meeting on May 2nd we’ll be discussing the some of the latest science on how plants use light to power their growth (you can see the details on the poster in our last post). Here’s the Agenda May 2nd for the business meeting that will follow.

Ian McCracken, secretary of the Merrylee Plotholders’ Association  writes:

I hope you’re all enjoying the sunny  weather and getting stuck into the new season.
I thought GAF members might be interested in this flyer advertising Merrylee’s first public event of the season.
We’ve had plant sales before but we’re putting a lot of effort into this year’s as our tie-in with Scotland’s Garden’s Scheme on this occasion  allows us to generate funds for SGS’s nominated charities including Maggie’s Cancer Care Centres.
As you’ll see from the flyer, the day offers more than just plants (good as they’ll be) and all would be very welcome to come along and enjoy.
20190417_Plant Sale_Merrylee 4 May 2019.jpg


NB Change in Croftburn Allotments contact details see Table of Sites on Sites page.

Power Plants, Composting and Veg of the Month

As spring gathers pace and new leaves begin to green Glasgow’s open spaces again, we look forward to our next GAF meeting which has an interesting scientific focus on the way plants power their own growth. This post also encourages you to think of holding a composting workshop on your site and Veg of the Month highlights a vegetable for harvesting in April that’s pretty rare on allotment sites nowadays but has a variety of possible uses in your kitchen.


The wonder of photosynthesis

Thursday May 2nd – 7pm at Garnethill Multicultural Centre G3 6RE

In this talk Sarah Henry will provide a  simple guide to photosynthesis and some of the very latest discoveries about how plants use light to provide them with the energy they need in order to grow. She will also  explain how this new knowledge is being applied by scientists to convert sunlight into electricity and  develop another source of renewable energy.

ABP diagram

Composting Workshop at Springburn Gardens

Thank you, GAF, for sending us your composting expert, ‘par excellence’, to work with us.

On Sunday 7th April Jan McDonald gave us an excellent, illustrated talk on ‘How to make good compost’. Despite the dreich day there was a good turnout of Springburn Gardens members. We all learned a lot more than we thought we knew about this fascinating topic. It was great to be able to go round the plots and discuss  the various arrangements that members were using, or proposing to use, to make this valuable soil ingredient. We were delighted to host this excellent event.

Margaret Scott

 ( Please contact us if you would like to host a similar workshop for your members). 

Veg. of the Month for April



At this time of year there are some early pickings of forced rhubarb and kale, broccoli and leeks are still on the go. Another vegetable that is ready to harvest is sorrel. If you don’t have any on your plot, now is the time to grow it from seed.  Sorrel is a hardy perennial so you will be able to enjoy this vegetable for years to come.

Garden sorrel was used widely in Britain in the 18thcentury but has since fallen out of favour. Jane Grigson writes of the patch of sorrel that would have grown by the kitchen door, handy to add to a dish as a lemony flavour before lemons were readily available.

1) Sow in a tray of compost Feb – April indoors or outdoors from May to July. 2) Let the seeds germinate. 3) For indoor sowings pot up  the seedlings when the first true leaves appear. 4) Plant out the young plants in May in moist, well drained soil with added compost.
5) Plant or thin the plants to 18” apart. 2- 4 plants should be sufficient. 6) Net the plants in early spring each year to prevent bird attack. 7) Start cutting young leaves when the new growth appears in late March/April 8) In June and July cut back flower stalks to keep the new leaves coming.


The sharp, lemony flavour of young sorrel leaves makes a tasty addition to any egg dish – a handful of sorrel can lift an omelette or a quiche. In France sorrel is used as a sauce to go with fish, particularly salmon. A few raw sorrel leaves add a zing to any salad as does throwing a handful into lentil soup just before serving. This month I’ll be making pesto – garlic, nuts, and olive oil with large handfuls of washed sorrel blended together and served over pasta.

Christine Forde

Note of Site-Based Events

Just a quick note to say there are now new site-based activities listed for 2019 on the Events page. For those of you planning open days, workshops etc. we’re very happy to publicise information about your event on the GAF website.

Good Food Nation and the Composting Workshop


When more than a fifth of people in Scotland have gone hungry because they can’t afford to buy food,2/3  of Scots are overweight, 44% of our farmers don’t earn a living wage and there are 44 million fewer birds in Britain than there were in 1970 it could be argued that we are in desperate need of a new strategy with regard to food.

The Scottish Government is currently consulting the public about what a policy to enable Scotland to become a Good Food Nation should contain. You will find the consultation form at https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=2ahUKEwiG7cy7w5DhAhUgURUIHTpiBn4QFjAAegQIBBAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fconsult.gov.scot%2Ffood-and-drink%2Fgood-food-nation%2F&usg=AOvVaw3ZCvWBcYUV3xqY1106VyX7

The consultation consists of 4 somewhat obscure ‘questions’ :

1     To what extent do you agree with the framework proposals for Ministers and public authorities to prepare statements of policy, have regard to them in the exercise of relevant functions, and report on implementation, with regard to international obligations and guidance?

2    Whilst we do not plan to require all sectors to prepare statements ofpolicy on food, they do all have a role to play in achieving our Good Food Nation ambition. To what extent do you agree that Government should encourage and enable businesses in particular to play their part? 

3   To what extent do you agree with the proposed approach to accountability of Scottish Ministers and specified public authorities? 

 4  To what extent do you agree with the proposal for targeted legislation relevant to specific policy areas as an alternative to a single piece of legislation? 

Even so , we think it is really important for us to respond before the consultation closes on March 29th. If you can find the time to fill in the questionnaire it is really important to make express your viewpoint on this key issue.

Our response is set out below. Feel  free to cut and paste our text if you want to in making your own responses.

Question 1          Agree

A Right to Food bill and accompanying Guidance could embed best practice in the way we grow, supply and cook our food. It could also change the culture of food in Scotland, make us a country where no-one is hungry, where we care about all those involved and where we all celebrate and enjoy our food. For this to happen the Government and public bodies must listen and work with everyone involved including allotmenteers and community growers.

Question 2        Agree

To succeed in making Scotland a Good Food Nation, we need everyone who has a role in food to play their part . We need ro encourage greater co-ordination and participation at local level.  For example, people can acquire the interest and skills in growing through allotments and community gardens and then if they wish,  progress to the commercial and social enterprises such as market gardens. For such connections to work there must be clear channels for information exchange and skills development.

Question 3       Strongly disagree

Reporting only to the Parliament and Scottish Ministers will not ensure Scotland becomes a Good Food Nation. Government’s plans and reports should be reviewed and monitored  by an independent statutory body that can demand action.  The local authorities have a duty under Part 9 (allotments) of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 to write a Food Growing Strategy (FGS). However the approach to developing an FGS is not necessarily being incorporated into policies relating to health, well being, the environment and education. A statutory body would ensure authorities effectively measured their progress and acted to bring about the fundamental changes in practice that are required in this area.

Question 4     Disagree

The Good Food Nation Bill should establish a legislative framework with social justice and the right to food at its heart. Such a legislative framework should guide subsequent targeted legislation. Food growing makes a contribution to all fields of government, it is fundamental to our quality of life. Targeted legislation should  ensure local food growing is integrated on all relevant policy areas including planning, health, land reform, biodiversity, circular economy, social inclusion and community integration.

Composting Workshop 

Jan McDonald will be following up the session on soil with a practical workshop on composting. This will take place at Springburn Gardens, Springburn Road, G21 1UX starting at 3 pm on Sunday April 7th..


Veg of the Month and Other Matters



Purple Sprouting Broccoli 

A very hardy plant that provides you with fresh greens when little else is available. First referred to in 1724 by the curator of the Apothecaries’ Garden at Chelsea as the “Italian asparagus”, purple sprouting broccoli is a worthy addition to the Scottish allotment. Patience is necessary, planted in mid-summer it is only in early spring the following year that the purple shoots appear.

1) Sow in early April in a tray of compost. 2)Let seeds germinate in the greenhouse or indoors. 3) Put the seedlings in a pot when the first true leaves appear. 4) Plant out the young plants in the ground in May
5) Plant them firmly 12/15” apart with 24” between rows 6) Add pelleted chicken manure  or fish, blood & bone (as advised on packs). 7) Put netting over the plants to save them from bird and butterfly attack. Start cutting the spears when they appear in the spring.

The ABC of Vegetables published by the Ministry of Food in 1948 recommends a steam-boil method of cooking with just enough salted water to prevent burning. After 10-15 minutes your patience will be rewarded. A white or cheese sauce is another possibility, but, with just a sprinkling of salt and a knob of butter this is a tasty early spring dish. (from Christine Forde and Denis Barrett)

Other Matters

1     On March 7th we had a very interesting talk packed with the latest ideas about how best to care for your soil and ensure its productivity. Jan’s input sparked a lot of useful discussion.  You will find the Handouts from Jan on the Events page in the Calendar for 2019.

2      The draft minutes of the business meeting that followed are on the Resources page as is Sandy’s latest report.

3       New site contacts for Germiston and Berridale have been added to the Table of Sites on the Sites page.

4        An early date for your diary – next season’s Potato Day will take place on Sunday Feb 23rd at the Reidvale Community Centre.

5       Don’t forget we’re looking for you to give us your nominations for Veg of the Month for April!