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Friday, March 16th, 2007 at 9:14 pm
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Homes and Gardens

Organic Advice for Edinburgh’s Allotment Owners

With the weather beginning to improve and signs of spring in evidence across the city, the thoughts of Edinburgh’s 1000+ allotment owners will inevitably be turning to this season’s planting. For those thinking of trying organic gardening for the first time, or looking for fresh ideas and inspiration help is at hand in the form of a series of free organic workshops being held by ASK Organic on behalf of the Council.

willow weaving at the allotmentsOpen to all allotment holders in Edinburgh, the workshops will give seasonal tips and advice on getting started with organic gardening. The first of these events will be held at Bridgend Allotments, Edinburgh’s first totally organic allotment site, on Sunday 18th March. This workshop will focus on harvesting willow and using it to make natural structures to protect plants from spring frosts and to act as natural supports for a range of plants including peas and beans.

The Bridgend Community Allotment site boasts 60 individual plots which are now fully occupied. It has access for all sectors of society, including raised beds for disabled gardeners and optional half plots. As the latest allotment site to open in Edinburgh, there are a number of features on site which are not only practical but innovative, including a rainwater collection system which is used for watering plots. The Royal Caledonian Horticulture Society also manages a demonstration area on the site.

The second workshop is being hosted by Midmar Allotments on Sunday 1st April. This workshop will look at organic pest and disease control. Fruit and vegetables are vulnerable to pests and diseases throughout the growing year and this workshop will examine how to protect your crops against these attacks.

talks at the allotments

Commenting on the initiative, Ian Woolard, the Council’s Allotments Officer said, “More and more people are showing an interest in organic and sustainable practices so we are delighted that ASK Organic are running these workshops for us to offer advice and ideas. We are committed to helping allotment holders get the most out of their plots, whilst helping wildlife in these important green spaces.”With recent new allocations of allotments around 40 new plot holders will have the opportunity of attending these workshops. There are currently upward of 1250 plots across 21 sites in the city with about 300 of these divided into half plots.

The workshops are part of the Council’s ongoing commitment to improving biodiversity across the city. They are funded by The Edinburgh Biodiversity Partnership, The City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Natural Heritage. Led by City of Edinburgh Council, the Partnership delivers the Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan, which outlines conservation activities for priority species and habitats in the Edinburgh area. Encouraging people to “garden with wildlife in mind”, including organic gardening, is a major aspect of the work of the partnership.

For further information on the workshops or to book a place please contact Karen Hay on 0131 469-5196 or at Karen.hay@edinburgh.gov.uk

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