It was a bit of a "Hurry-up" at the end, but the plot is now completely clear of last season's crops. All the winter digging is complete and the ground ready for this season's planting and seed sowing. The dry weather towards the end of the month made the digging a bit easier. And with all the preparation complete, we did manage a weekend away.
Plotholders generally spend less time on their plots during the winter months than in the summer. The obvious reasons are that little or no planting has to be done, Christmas and New Year activities take up a lot of time, most of the harvesting is over and the weather is poor.
The consultation period for the Council's Allotment Strategy has been extended to Friday the 23rd of April. Ratification is expected in July and the launch will take place in late summer or early autumn.
This is a big deal for all present and prospective allotment holders as it sets the direction for policy over the next five years. It follows on from the first Cultivating Communities paper which has been seen as a great success and is now being adapted for use by other local authorities in Scotland.
FEDAGA and the City of Edinburgh Council have agreed to run an allotment competition in 2010. The Council intends to stage the Edinburgh In Bloom competition again and FEDAGA will sponsor the allotments section. Judges are even now readying themselves for the task ahead. Publicity and details of how to enter will appear in due course.
Here is a link to an article in the Evening News that gives details of plans to expand Edinburgh's allotment provision:
Don't forget to visit Inch House for Bridgend Organic Allotments' Potato Day: Sunday 21st February, 11am to 2pm. Check the Events listings for further details.
FEDAGA has been encouraging moves to convert unused publicly held land into growing spaces. Ideally, we would like to see the greater provision of traditional allotments on a permanent basis. However, it must be recognised that a lot of land that could be used is retained for future development. The large area at the back of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital abutting Myreside Road is one such area.
This is now to be developed into community gardens by NHS Lothian, who own the land, and the charity Cyrenians.
The Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society has pushed for Parliamentary time to be devoted to debating allotment provision. At last they have met with success and on December 17th, Jim Tolson MSP will move the motion detailed below.
It would be good if other MSPs were encouraged to support the motion and participate in the debate to build pressure on Scottish Local Authorities and other public bodies to increase and improve land used for allotments. To this end, why not write to your MSP to encourage them to help us? You could base your text on this brief example...
The Government acknowledges the difficulties that the use of manure containing traces of aminopyralid has caused some gardeners and allotment holders. In issuing approvals for two new products, it carefully considered the advice of the independent Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP).
The restrictions on the new approvals are intended to ensure that manure containing aminopyralid does not leave the farm:
The new products may only be used on grassland for grazing (not for forage) or amenity grassland.
There are currently 2152 people on the City of Edinburgh Council allotments waiting list: two individuals for each plot in the city. FEDAGA is working with Council officials to encourage the development of new sites as a matter of urgency. We are also trying to get the Council to introduce a new evictions procedure in a bid to minimise the number of "dirty" plots that are not being cultivated adequately. These initiatives will help to cut the waiting list.