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Glasgow Allotments Forum Newsletter
Issue 9: June 2021

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GAF Zoom Open Forum: Change is on the way for allotment sites
Thursday July 1, 7.00 - 8.00 pm

Between an increasing demand for growing space and the legal requirement for local authorities to publish new rules and regulations for allotments, how sites in Glasgow are to be organised and managed will be up for review and debate this year. GAF wants to make sure that the views and experiences of local Allotment Association members and groups interested in opening up new sites are central to that process. 

This Open Forum session is intended as a starter for sharing our experiences and concerns and beginning to identify key issues that we feel need to be addressed in deciding on the future organisation and management of plot holding in the City.

You can register to join the discussion on zoom by going to the events page of  Glasgow Allotments Forum website.

It might also be helpful to check out the latest update on the Glasgow Food Growing strategy.  The council sent out a notification about these papers at the beginning of June.


Linking with your Community

Looking at the links between allotment sites and local community groups and how they could be developed and managed was the topic for our first Open Forum Meeting on May 6th.  This was a very useful discussion, highlighting the possibilities through drawing on the experiences and observations of plotholders from across the City.  It is recorded in the newsletter so that people who were not able to join in can benefit from the forum. 
Two examples of models of provision were particularly highlighted:


  1. An external community organization takes a plot – rental is paid by the organization and the plot is self-managed by the group leader. Attendance is up to the external organization and the Association will only be involved if there are problems.
  2. The community organization does not take on sole responsibility for a particular plot or area on the site and does not have to be physically involved in growing. For example:
  • A communal plot or a communal area is managed by a member of the association working with external groups in relation to a particular area of the site e.g. the school plot at Mansewood is maintained jointly by members of the Mansewood Association and the school group.
  • A group or organization is involved in voluntary work on the allotment site as a whole, e.g. they provide maintenance or development activities for the good of the Association by volunteers that benefit from working together on the site. This is planned and scheduled mutually with the Committee e.g. Partick Thistle Community Trust and Springburn Gardens
  • There is a communal area which is laid out with seating and shelter where activities which are irregular and not necessarily focused on gardening can take place as part of occasional or focused visits e.g. foraging, learning about food growing and preparation, giving access to the outdoors and therapy activities at South West Allotments.


Group leaders are very important and their capacity to service plots all year round is variable for a number of reasons –

  1. Schools are very reliant on particular teachers and schools are not open during the time when most work on the allotment is required.

  2. Other groups may lack reliable funding and arrangements may fall through because of that.

  3. There is also a difference between having staff who are paid to do community work and staff who are trying to do something ‘additional’ to their normal duties.


The forum participants talked around the issues of having children on site, both those attending the site with their parents and those under the supervision as part of an organized group. This part of the discussion was interesting because it touched on the whole issue of children being allowed to explore places where there are perceived dangers such as ponds etc. There was also the issue of reconciling the needs of families and those of some plot holders who are averse to having family groups.


The participants also touched on a number of general management issues that need to be considered and discussed:

  1. Access to toilet (s) and shelter for all;

  2. Risk assessments by groups prior to entry (people need to get the chance to see the site and to have their attention drawn to specific issues they may need to address) ;

  3. Timetabling where a number of groups are involved;

  4. Sustainability – whether the deal is taking over a plot or managed access to the site for specific activities;

  5. Insurance;

  6. Reconciling a variety of needs.

Health and Safety on your plot

Your newsletter editor, recently, while staking up peas, bent to pick something up and drove a cane into her lower eye lid with sufficient force that she had to have the tear duct stitched up at Gartnavel General.  It could have been a lot worse so this experience suddenly made her think, much more seriously than previously,  about the risks associated with the quiet, safe activity of gardening.  It turns out there are a number of helpful organisations giving advice to the individual plot holder on their web sites.  A good example is the UK wide allotment organisation the National Allotment Society formerly known  as NSALG.  They produce a handy little PDF leaflet that you could download and stick up in your shed to consult in your hour of need.

Growing and using Turnips
Jenny Reeves
Turnip is a crop we have in abundance currently.  We began with a small tray of seedlings on the windowsill, planting these out when they were about 3/4 inches. From May, every now and then we have sown a few seeds in odd empty patches across the plot. Space out the seeds between 9 inches if you want to harvest the turnips young or about 12 inches for larger vegetables. To have an ongoing supply we will continue to sow a small patch through July. Regular watering in dry spells ensures that the turnips stay tender and do not become woody.

Turnip is a very versatile root vegetable. Young turnips can be steamed/boiled and served indulgently with butter. Chopped larger turnips are a useful addition to vegetable or lentil stews while slow-roast turnips have a creamy texture. The tender young turnips can be grated into a salad or coleslaw, adding crunch and a slight peppery flavour. Finely sliced turnip can be used in a light (Vietnamese style) pickle.

Turnips are a double crop. Turnip greens make an excellent dish as well. Turnip greens sautéed in butter with plenty of garlic, can be used like cabbage or alternatively, be blended with a hint of cream into a soup.

I am already into doctoring the damsons, spraying them with a mix of soap and water against the aphids which are making the leaves curl. I have also bound their trunks with sticky tape to discourage the black ants which are climbing up and down the way farming the sugary residue that the aphids produce.

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GAF Newsletter · Garnethill Multicultural Centre · 21 Rose Street · Glasgow, Lanarkshire G3 6RE · United Kingdom

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