Garvald Show

Garvald Horticultural ShowThe full show schedule, with all the categories, staging details, awards and prizes, is available as a downloadable pdf file here.

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Growing away

Allotment April 2011

Apologies for not posting recently – I’ve been looking after my mother in Perthshire a lot this year, as she’s been very ill. However, she’s now feeling a lot better, and the Social Care people have been looking after her, so I’ve got a bit more time to look after my plot at Thistly Cross (above) and to plan ahead for the season.

The photo above was taken on April 27th, and shows strawberries – in flower – and two varieties of garlic, both doing well.

I’m hoping to make contact again with the Council’s allotments person, with a view to moving forward with plans for allotments and community gardens in Dunbar and other parts of East Lothian, working with Sustaining Dunbar and Dunbar in Bloom.

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2011 season

The soil is still wet and cold, but it’s time to start planning for the year ahead. Talking of planning, I’ve just been advised that the Thistly Cross allotments have at last been granted planning permission, subject to certain conditions. I’ll give more details of these conditions shortly.

I expect that you’ve been thinking of what to plant in the year to come, and so have I. The garlic was planted in November, and my ‘Allium’ bed will also have onions, shallots and leeks in it. The Brassica bed will be sown with Oriental vegetables, but this will be much later – early summer – to avoid the risk of bolting. The Legumes bed will have broad beans and dwarf French beans (which were very successful in 2010). The ‘Roots’ bed will have early potatoes, parsnips, beetroot and carrots.

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End of season

We’re heading into November, when growth in gardens and allotments should start to slow down, but late October has been very mild, and crops (and weeds) are still flourishing. I’ve harvested the last of my beans, but carrots, beetroot, fennel and sprouts are still in the ground.

I visited Dunbar Grammar School this week, and was delighted to see their progress with the polytunnel in the school grounds. We had a brainstorming session to see what the pupils wanted to grow, and the staff will be able to divide up the planting into four rotation groups, for roots, legumes, brassicas, and onions + everything else. A lot of it will be experimental, and that’s a good thing. They will try different crops and see what grows best. The central area of the polytunnel is taken up with raised beds, but there should be room next to the plastic to try tomatoes and sweetcorn. The pupils are enthusiastic and energetic – I was very envious of the way they were digging out the grass from the bases of the raised beds. Good luck to them.

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Allotment Get-Together

The Thistly Cross allotment holders are having a get-together on Saturday 2nd October at 3pm. We’ll be getting an update on the planning application, plus we’ll have the chance to discuss the future.

We’re also going to make it a social occasion, with a bring-your-own picnic or barbecue.

While it’s primarily for allotment holders, if anyone else wants to come along and see the allotments you’d be very welcome.

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Autumn is the season for meetings – ah well, the evenings are getting too dark for gardening. Anyway, the Dunbar Allotments and Gardens committee will be meeting in October. We’ll be getting updates on theThistly Cross allotments, and on our search for other possible sites for Council allotments within Dunbar.

We’ll also be having a meeting of all the allotment holders at Thistly Cross at some point. There too there will be lots to discuss, towards the end of our first growing season on the site. I’m very pleased with the crops I’ve harvested this year. Even allowing for the short season – we only started working the plots in July – I’ve had cabbage, kohl rabi, lettuce, beetroot, peas, courgettes and French beans, with lots more to come. My fruit bushes are established, and I’ve put in posts for a fruit cage for next year.

Meanwhile, my friends at the Amisfield Walled Garden in Haddington are having their AGM on the 30th of September. The Garden has come on tremendously in the last year, and I’m delighted to see it flourishing.

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Dunbar Flower Show 2010

Dunbar Flower Show will be held on Saturday 11th September in the Parish Church Hall from 1.30 to 5pm.

There are classes for Flowers, Vegetables, Fruit, Floral Art, Handcrafts, Baking and Photography, and there are also classes for children to enter.

Contact Gordon Mitchell for a schedule or for more information. 01368 862824

Staging is on Friday 10th September from 8 to 10pm.

Gordon says, “Support your local Flower Show or you may lose it!”

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School allotment

Well done to the pupils of Dunbar Grammar School for their achievement in their ‘Dragon’s Den’ competition. The winning proposal, funded by sponsors which included Be Green and Sustaining Dunbar, is to create a school allotment on school premises. I’m told that they will be putting up a polytunnel with an irrigation system, plus a fruit cage.  In time they want to affiliate to the Dunbar Allotments and Gardens Association, and we’re delighted by that.

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It was as recently as the 19th of June that the committee first visited the Thistly Cross site. The following day some of us came back to measure and mark off the plots, and this is how it looked:

Thistly Cross site

During the following week we invited those on the Council waiting list to check out and reserve plots, and some had started working on their plots by the 28th of June. Since then we opened leases to all comers, and there has been an impressive amount of work done since then. Here are a couple of photos taken on August 3rd, just over five weeks from the first lets:

Five weeks on - I

Five weeks on - II

Other news is that we are continuing to look at other sites within Dunbar for Council allotments.

You can leave comments here or on the Forum (see the sidebar for the link).

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Dunbar Allotments site

This is the first post from the Dunbar Allotments and Gardens Association. We’re grateful to Sustaining Dunbar for helping us to organise a website, and we’ll be using it to keep members and the wider community up to date with news on allotment and garden matters around Dunbar.

First, the latest on the Thistly Cross site. This is a private development organised by George Barton in association with the landowner, a local farmer. 43 plots were marked out  a month ago, and offered initially to those on East Lothian Council’s Dunbar area waiting list, before being offered more widely. I’m delighted to report that all 43 plots have now been let, and that most are now being actively cultivated. Planning permission is being sought, and pending this the allotments are let on an agricultural tenancy basis.

At the same time, other potential allotment sites within the Dunbar area are being investigated for Council allotments, as the Thistly Cross site does not suit everyone on the waiting list.

We are also looking at the possibility of establishing Community Gardens in two sites within Dunbar, and a number of ideas are being pursued. In planning these kinds of developments, it’s crucial that the local community is fully involved, and we are committed to making sure this happens.

We would welcome comments and ideas.

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