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Glasgow Allotments Forum Newsletter
Issue 12: September 2021

 The GAF newsletter wants to keep everyone in touch with the wide range of wonderful allotment activities in Glasgow.  If you have contacts who might like to know what is going on please feel free to forward this email to them. If they are interested then they can use the button at the bottom of the letter to enroll themselves onto the mailing list.

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GAF with Nourish Scotland at COP26
Salvation Army, Houldsworth St., G3 8ED

November 1 to 12

The charity Nourish Scotland, together with some partners, is bringing to life  a 12  day series of events - Recipes for Resiliance - which are mostly open to the public and will highlight the importance of food systems within the climate conversation.  GAF has been asked to plant up 9 raised beds in the garden of the venue.  The idea is to demonstrate to visitors  how much it is possible for an individual to grow successfully in a limited space - even in Glasgow in November.

GAF has risen, with its usual enthusiasm, to the  challenge of planting beds in November.   One  bed already had perennial herb plants but the rest were blank canvasses! Sarah from Nourish managed to source compost for the beds. Jenny, Heather and Iain from GAF have rustled up plants and will transport them to the site. The beds should be planted up by October 29th and we hope that children from the local primary school will help us.

So far we have brussel sprouts, savoy cabbage, kale, leek, garlic, chives, swede (neep), turnip, daikon, beetroot, broad bean, green manure (mustard and field beans), strawberries, mint, sage, marjoram, thyme, tansy, butterbur. We will also plant with some twigs of gooseberry, redcurrant and blackcurrant. There will be labels on all the plants and information about them on a GAF table  in the marquee where the visitors to the site will have refreshments.

So - GAF is now making a contribution to COP by showing what can be grown in Glasgow even in November.  Please drop in to the Salvation Army garden and come and talk to us at our table.
New Plotholder Awards 2021
New plotholder awards aim to encourage, recognise and reward those who rise to the challenge of  a new plot.  You can read all about them by going to the GAF website at this link.

It was great to be able to run the new plotholder awards again this year, after missing last year due to the pandemic. The judging took place on the 9th October, by Angela Smith from the Royal Horticultural Society, and a great day was had by all despite the damp weather. The standard of allotments was very high and as usual, it is impressive to see the hard work that new plotholders put into converting abandoned plots into productive and beautiful growing spaces. Many thanks to all applicants for letting us view their plots. 

The top prize was won by Gavin Robertson and Alison Murray from South Western Allotments (picture on left) and second prize to Lizzie Walters from Mansewood (picture on right). Highly commended prizes go to Sarka Brichova (Sir John Stirling Maxwell Allotments) and Laurence Bancroft (Victoria Park Allotments) and Commendations went to Piotr Kosciuk (Springburn Allotments) and Rui Jin and Chong Li (Victoria Park Allotments).  Prizes will be presented by the Incorporation of Gardeners, Glasgow, with many thanks.

Take Part in the Local Food Strategy Consultation

Those of us who have allotments know how lucky we are. Many of us felt that being able to go to our plots during the recent lockdowns kept us sane. There is now greater pressure than ever on waiting lists as many more Glaswegians realise how important it is be able to garden and grow food for yourself and others.

Plot holders can help GAF to help more people gain access to the benefits of plot holding.  Please click this link and respond to the Local Food Strategy Consultation from Scottish Government. It need only take a few minutes to push for increased allotment provision in Glasgow. Information from this consultation could inform the agenda for climate change, health and biodiversity as well as for local food.
The consultation  closes on November 26.

The GAF committee would suggest responding to Question 4 in the online form by proposing that the Scottish Government should work to ensure:
1.    Sufficient good land is conserved and made available by local authorities and public bodies for food growing in all urban and rural areas so everyone has an opportunity to grow their own food in their locality and this is recognised as a right.
2.    All public bodies are pro-active in working in partnership with local groups to raise awareness of the benefits of communal growing and promote and enable the creation allotments, orchards and small market gardens across our cities.
3.    That. in partnership with public bodies, housing associations and voluntary organisations the Government recognises and builds on the local indigenous food growing cultures of both Scots and other ethnic groups. Local food growing cultures are enabled, sustained and enriched by the provision of allotments.

Please discuss the Consultation with others.  If you have any questions or comments about this issue please send them either to  or post them on our facebook page. GAF’s full response will shortly be posted on our website

GAF committee thanks you for your help.
What to do with a Bunch of Beetroot

Ideas from Christine Forde, Springburn Allotments

One of our successes this season has been beetroot. We grew from seed - two varieties, our regular boltardy which is a round beetroot and alto (pictured above), a longer more cylinder-like shape. Boltardy is widely grown and is known to be able to resist bolting. Alto was the experiment, and we have had some large but still tender beetroot.

Beetroot seeds come in a cluster and so for the initial sowing we used a tray with one seed cluster in each module. Seedlings were kept on the windowsill until they were about two/three inches.  This gave us several small plants to pot on before then planting out in the ground in May.  We began sowing boltardy in late March keeping them indoors while they geminated. And then two further sowings at three week intervals. We sowed the alto at this point, with a view that these would be for late autumn and maybe early winter. We have had a regular harvest from August onwards of both varieties.

Beetroot hummus using fava beans also grown on the allotment:
cooked fava beans blended with oil, garlic, lemon and beetroot blended together until smooth. Drain the fava beans well to avoid the mixture becoming too watery. This mix freezes well.
It was only growing beetroot on the allotment that I re-discovered the flavour I remembered from childhood, where we ate beetroot from the garden. It is so much tastier than pickled beetroot. With a regular harvest from August onwards and still more to dig up, I am now faced with the question ‘what to do with a bunch of beetroot’. However, beetroot is a versatile veg, which can be used in salads, soups and stews and also cakes.   I have been trying out new recipes.

•    Roasting beetroot is easy - wash the beetroot thoroughly but do not peel. Instead rub some olive oil over the skin, wrap tightly in tinfoil. I prepare and save the beetroot until I am using the oven. A few beetroot help to fill the oven. Once roasted and cooled down, the outer skin peels off easily. I have used roast beetroot in other dishes.
•    A chopped roast beetroot is welcome addition to a brown lentil stew, adding a sweetness without overpowering other vegetables.  

Our beetroot hummus experiment was also a great success

Beetroot leaves can also be used. If you are picking some early plants when the leaves are still young, these can be added raw to other leaves in a salad. As the beetroot grows, the leaves become tougher but when cooked are edible. A bunch of chopped beetroot leaves or along with chard or spinach leaves, can be added to stir-fry. The stalks and leaves combined with chard leaves and stalks can be used as a baked au gratin dish. One particular favourite that uses every part of the vegetable is sautéed beetroot, apple and leaves/stalks. Once cooled, add goat’s or vegan cheese.

Next bunch of beetroot, I am going to try a sweet beetroot cake.

Potato Day: 
It's early days but the wheels are starting to turn on next year's potato day which will again be managed through the on line shop.  There will be discounts for bulk orders from whole sites but there will also be excellent value for individual buyers.  Go to the web site for more information.
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GAF Newsletter · Garnethill Multicultural Centre · 21 Rose Street · Glasgow, Lanarkshire G3 6RE · United Kingdom

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