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GAF Newsletter, Issue 3, December 2020
We wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

With all the on-going restrictions Glasgow Allotments Forum won’t be hosting ‘Potato Day’ as we have grown to love it.  With the opportunity for you to pick your own tubers, share gardening tips, ask questions and meet fellow gardeners.  However, GAF has planned to bring you ‘Potato Day 0nline’; seed potatoes, onion & shallot sets, seed garlic and Kings Seeds at great prices and whilst we can’t meet in person, we can share a great deal of fun, knowledge, skills and ideas on-line  - see the next article to learn about Glasgow’s ‘February Festival of Growing’ Thursday 18th – Sunday 28th February 2021.

How to get your seed potatoes?
There are 2 ways:
Make up a bulk order for your site, community garden or group or make individual purchases through our on-line shop

Bulk orders
Bulk order forms are for orders over £100,  You can obtain a price list and order form by emailing - pass the order form round your members, collate it into one order and submit it back to that address – we will confirm receipt and let you know if something is no longer available – once confirmed we will ask you for payment. Orders will be available from mid-February onwards. ‘Covid safe’ collection will be from a central location in Glasgow, to be advised. There will be free delivery to your site or garden on any order of over £200. 

Individual Purchases
There will be a GAF on-line shop for individual orders (the URL will be announced later); place your order, make payment. ‘Covid safe’ collection will be from a central location, to be advised from mid-February 2021

Certified Seed Potatoes
We get our supplies from Scottish Seed Potato merchants. Scotland has a world-wide reputation for top quality seed potatoes. There is a rigorous system of checking plants growing in the field and maintaining the healthiest of crops.
Scottish Seed Certification ensures that the variety is correct and that the seed potatoes are free from serious diseases which would not only ruin your own crop but could potentially spread to farms and growers further afield. Growing potatoes from some spuds you picked up in the supermarket, which might be imported, can risk spreading harmful pathogens.

Remember that the potato is a clone and picks up all sorts of genetic ‘rubbish’ over generations. Buying Certified Seed Potatoes ensures your seed stock has had a ‘full health check’ and maintains Scottish bio-security for all


Allotments in the Snow by David Utting

Febfest - February Festival of Growing in Glasgow

Thursday 18th- Sunday 28th February 2021



We want plot-holders across Glasgow to join and share our love and passion for growing. There will be 10 days with evening sessions on Zoom where people will talk about what they do and what their plots mean to them. We want to show the range of different activities that happen on our sites and the diversity of opportunity that allotments offer… everything from bees, cats and chickens to flowers, huts and feasts.

Most evening sessions will be about an hour long, with three or four plot-holders telling their stories, maybe showing short videos or pictures followed by a round table discussion sharing the experiences and memories that the presentations have triggered. There will be a film night and, at the weekend, children's activities, and a musical celebration ending with a Gala.

There will be links on the GAF web page ( and facebook page to access longer videos, pictures, and more detailed advice.  For example on how to plant and prune, on composting methods, and to other organisations and workshops. People will be able put in comments, requests and links through the chatbox during the Zoom events and to follow up discussions on the GAF facebook page.

Other organisations are thinking about joining in by arranging visits to allotment sites and community gardens with accompanying Zoom meetings involving project workers and the groups they support. If the Festival is successful we could run similar sessions during COP26 with the message 'this is what we do, this is what we care about and here is how we can contribute to the change that is needed’

Please let us know if you and your family or friends are willing to participate and share your experiences of growing in Glasgow. We hope the Festival will be an informal, fun and inclusive time for sharing before we start to plant and harvest. All offers very welcome - contact


A Peppery Winter Salad
After the bounties of summer salads, this time of year does not look promising but there are some hidden gems on the allotment that can make a tasty leaf salad. First among these is the peppery flavoured American Land Cress. This can be sown in a sheltered spot in the ground or in pots, late on in the season.

Seeds are widely available – labelled either Land Cress or American Land Cress. We sowed our land cress in early September and have been picking and eating the leaves for the last month.

Another peppery tasting leaf we are gathering this year was a find – these are mustard tops from the plants we had sown for green manure in late August. We are also nurturing the last of the spinach crop, new leaves from plants under netting, chopped finely add to the salad alongside the odd nasturtium leaf and the last of the celery leaves. For the foragers, of course a handful of young dandelion leaves add a bit of bulk.

Companion planting
These plants can also be grown earlier in the year as a companion plant. Sown among your cabbages and other brassicas land cress is a companion plant, deterring caterpillars. After having caterpillars strip a purple sprouting broccoli plant, we are going to try planting land cress among the brassicas next year.

One of our fellow allotment gardeners, used the mustard tops to make a pesto. Any of the leaves finely chopped can be made into a tasty pesto along - a combination of mustard tops, spinach and the last of the herbs - marjoram, parsley with a hint of mint. Depending on how peppery you like your greens, you can decide on the proportions. All you need then is a handful of chopped nuts, a little grated cheese, chopped garlic and oil. You can blend the ingredients although I find chopping easier - the mix tends to clog the blender.

After attending GAF’s webinar on Action for New Allotments on 27th October 2020 and a further meeting supported by GAF on 19th November 2020, a new group of Glasgow based enthusiastic food growers has formed.
Frustrated with closed allotment lists or with waiting times in excess of 10 years, the ambition of the group is to work together for their right to access land for food growing. Since then, working under the banner of The People’s Plot, the group has already had two meetings, one of which involved an inspirational input from Propagate Scotland. The group’s focus is to become a constitutional group in order to campaign and lobby the local authority for suitable land for new allotments. The People’s Plot is looking for further keen food growers to join them in their fight. To find out more information, join their cause or to attend their next meeting in January, contact . The People’s Plot would like to thank GAF for their continued guidance and support.
GAF Annual Report November 25th 2020
At our first meeting in January we planned our calendar for the year. After a splendid Potato Day at the end of February when everyone enjoyed themselves immensely thanks to the hard work of Jan MacDonald and her team, things came to an abrupt halt in March. Since then we have had to change the way we work. We have had to go online. We were able to run successful Zoom sessions with Graham Bell talking about his permaculture garden and Charles Dowding explaining Using the No Dig Method.

The new communications team - Scott Ramsay at , Iain Sutherland at Glasgow Allotments Forum on Facebook, Chris Kuhn on and Instagram at glasgowallotmentsforum, and Barbara Delarue editing our new newsletter - have been very successful in raising our profile this year.

Unfortunately, we had to cancel the New Plot-holders’ Awards and our annual Celebration of Allotments. We still went ahead with the Allotment Development Awards and in August Croftburn, Oatlands Gate and Springburn were each awarded £500 after making online presentations about their plans for the future.

This was the year in which the provisions for allotments in Part 9 of the Community Empowerment Act came into force. Glasgow Council published its Food Growing Strategy. which we both commented on and then lobbied counsellors for changes. As a result, two amendments were passed requiring Officers to develop measurable proposals to meet the demand for growing spaces and to specify how land for growing will be provided for new housing developments in the City. The Council was also planning to produce new rules and regulations for allotments which are urgently needed. This has now been delayed so GAF is asking that the process be moved forward again and for details of how allotmenteers will be involved in the formulation of a new governance framework.

For all those of our members able to go out for exercise their plots have been an absolute godsend during lockdowns. There has been a huge increase in demand for allotments over and above the already long waiting lists that existed before the pandemic. GAF decided to encourage people who want allotments to make their voices heard. We ran a webinar, Action for New Allotments, in November. 90 people registered an interest in the event and 34 took part. Glasgow councillors Anna Richardson and Martha Wardrop attended along with Rachel Smith from the GCC’s Neighbourhoods and Sustainability Services. A group has now been formed to carry that campaign forward.

GAF will continue to support existing plot-holders through our talks on the web, through Potato Day and our February Festival of Growing. We will also carry on working with other ‘growing’ organisations in the City to play an active part in the emergence of a greener and more sustainable Glasgow in the year that COP26 comes to town.
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GAF Newsletter · Garnethill Multicultural Centre · 21 Rose Street · Glasgow, Lanarkshire G3 6RE · United Kingdom

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