Organic Growers of Fairlie- Garden Diary for 2008)
Garden Diary 2008


  • 'OF HOT-BOXES AND WORMERIES (not Cabbages and Kings) Phoenix Futures HotBoxes and Wormeries

    Fairlie leading the way: The Fairlie-style of miniallotment gardeningis starting to be copied by other communities in Scotland.The rehabgroup, Phoenix Futures have their HotBoxes and Wormeries in full operation at their base inChatelherault Park, Hamilton. South Lanarkshire have now made a secondgarden site available to them in Calderglen Park, East Kilbride. Thistoo will be operational by April. Perth & Kinross Council,following on their visit by their Provost, JohnHubertand his team toour Garden in September, have now prepared a lovely site in the middleof the City of Perth for their grow-your-own, Fairlie-style garden.


    We have now had the formal offer of a further 9,900 from Scottish Natural Heritage to develop the next phase of the Garden.


    The Shed was ablaze with light and there were candles along the lengthof the polytunnel. Flames shot from the brazier outside. There wereChristmas pies, chunks of Christmas cake and mulled wine a plenty. Thekeyboard, violin, flute, double bass and guitars of the PraiseBandstruck up and the sound of joyful singing could be heard acrosstheGarden. From over 70 years of age to under 3 months, everyone had alovely evening. This was a wonderful event to celebrate Christmas and abrilliant year for the Fairlie Growers in Fairlie's very own CommunityGarden. Happy Christmas everyone.


    Graeme Walker of Scottish Natural Heritage was impressed with the amount of work which has been done in the Gardenthis summer and with the continuing plant growth in our beds and in thepolytunnel. He has now approved our application for a further 9,900from SNH so that we can now build more beds ... and install a toilet -acomposting toilet of course!


    Donald Wilson, an NAC arboriculturist, was surprised at the variety offlora he found across the garden site. He recognised the lengths we hadgone to in managing the knotweed infestation and the contaminated soilissue. He has offered to work with us in planting windbreak trees andshrubs and in planning our show garden for the Gardening Scotland Show, Ingleston on the 29th - 31st May..


    Discussions are underway how best to incorporate Fairlie's innovativewaste-to-foodprocess and raised bed mini allotment garden, into the Gardening Scotland show at Ingliston in May 2009. Beechgrove Garden's Jim McColl is verykeen for a demo organic garden based on the Fairlie model to be createdas a centrepiece for the show. This will be amazing publicity for theOGF and will raise the profile of our innovative waste managementsolutions and organic food production.

    Photoshows Jim McColl visiting the Organic Growers of Fairlie thissummer to film the garden's progress for the Beechgrove Garden.


    Ron has been invited to give a presentation to Hunterston Rotary on14thJanuary 2009 at Seamill Hydro on the Garden, its history and ourambitions and plans for the future.


    At a meeting with Phoenix Futures i n Chatelherault, Hamilton, on Friday, South Lanarkshire Councilcommitted to support the immediate development of two furtherFairlie-style community gardens, one with Phoenix at East Kilbride andthe other with the Forth Village & District Eco-iniative.



    Ron and Emma, as Tecorr Solutions , had a successful meeting on Wednesday 26th November with MichaelRussell MSP - Minister for the Environment. Discussions revolved aroundhow best to disseminate the knowledge of waste-to-food processesestablished at the Fairlie sustainable community garden to allow thissuccessful model to be replicated around the country. The Minister,understanding the importance of managing household waste, and enablingcommunities to 'grow-their-own', is developing the ScottishGovernment's strategy in partnership with Tecorr Solutions. Excitingtimes ahead !



    A group from the Phoenix Futures care and rehab centre in Blantyre came down to the Garden recently andwere so inspired to be able to grow-their-own food, that they havealready built raised beds, wormeries and HotBoxes. Last week theystarted their first wormery in their polytunnel . If anyone thinks thattheir wormery is well populated and would wish to donate a chunk oftheir worm-bed to help this group, it would be greatly appreciated andthe wormstock will be very well looked after. The Phoenix Futuresproject will be an on-going partner of ours.

  • EAST LOTHIAN SCHOOL SUCCESS The Kelburn Primary School vegetable plot

    Last year we set up a domestic sized wormery in Ormiston Primary School in E. Lothian [the teacher there was an ex-pupil of Ron's]. We havejust heard that they have gained their Ecoschool Green Flag Award basedon our waste-to-food process [W2F]. This follows on Kelburn Primary gaining their Green Flag last year for their W2F project [as seen on TV! and see picture]. Theripples from the eco-epicentre, Fairlie, are spreading rapidly.


    This Wednesday [26th November] Ron and Emma as Tecorr Solutions havebeen called through to meet Michael Russell MSP, the Minister for theEnvironment, to discuss how best to roll-out our innovative W2F processand the Fairlie Community Garden raised bed mini allotment systemacross Scotland. Our wee village initiative has created quite a stiralready ... and we have only been in the gate for 6 months! The effortsof all the Growers have raised the bar for the recycling of organicwastes. It will be interesting to track the significance of ourinitiative month-on-month as other communities seek to emulate ourmodel.


    As satellites from the Fairlie Eco-village project, May and Bill Gow inBothwell have a big wormbox and used our W2F process to grow all theseperfect potatos in one old compost bag and this monster tattie camefrom another.


RonGilchrist took our display to the Firth of Clyde Forum's 2008 Annual Conference -'The Clyde in a Changing Climate: Climate Change and the Firth ofClyde'.

This was held in Glasgow City Chambers' Banqueting Hall on Tuesday11th November at 9:30am.

(Picture above shows garden on 03/11/08)


TheCommunity Garden has been awash for much of the summer. Some of thenewly planted trees and shrubs are "drowning". However, we have derivedgreat benefit from adopting the raised bed mini allotment design.Let itrain - our crops have not suffered at all.

Asthe demand for more allotments increases throughout the country,there is a growing recognition that, because our beds are soaccessible, we give intensive care to maximise the soil fertility andso, in much less area, we can still grow more food and better qualityfood than is possible in most traditional allotments.

As the winds have turned northerly and the temperature has dropped, theGrowers are increasingly to be found sheltering in the Potting Shed.Although there are plenty of winter greens in the raised beds, much ofthe chat is about how much we can grow under cover in the polytunnel.Everyone is experimenting with different soil mixtures and differentseeds. We are certainly all on a steep learning curve.

Currently our main challenge is that lots more villagers want to jointhe Growers. We have plenty of room for more beds but lack the capitalto build them. We are a registered charity now and would welcome helpfrom anyone who can help us with our fundraising.

(Pictures above show garden and interior of polytunnel on 28/10/08)

See the article here on the Evening Times website for details of a garden site run by theCoachHouse Trust in Glasgow - Ron Gilchrist was technical adviser tothem and designed their first garden with composting bays, worm boxesand raised beds where they grow a variety of salad leaves for the localchefs .

We have been informed of a generous donation of 20 tonnes of timberunfortunately it is in Southampton! We are trying to organisetransport.....


We have received a very complimentary letter from Tern TV (who make the Beechgrove Garden TV programme) thanking us for letting them visit. They indicated that our 'enthusiasm, passion and methods were inspirational.' They intend to have a Fairlie look-alike centre in their Aberdeen garden next year and will feature our sustainable community gardening at the Gardening Scotland Show at Ingleston in May next year.
Ronis will also give a talk in the Main Theatre and be on the Question Time panel each day.

Well it seems to be autumn now and the gardeners are starting to move into the poly-tunnel. (lots of leaves now to compost!)

Soon all that will be left in the plots will be the winter 'greens' although some gardeners are fighting the dreaded offspring of the Cabbage White.

There seems to be some experiments going on in the tunnel to see just what can be grown/started at this time of year - time will tell!

Latest news is that we are now a charity (see the Home page) which will open up some more funding avenues.

Ron attended the FCFCG Scottish conference - who knows what the FCFCG is?

See the events page for an answer and for future events

Ifyou have any news (or gossip!) that can be displayed here please send it to me.


Would you like to donate to our project?

Hand tools

Watering Cans



Trees (see fundraising)

Justuse the Contact Us page to let us know what you would like todonate orhow you can help and we will be in touch.
Organic Growers of Fairlie- Garden Diary for 2008)
©Organic Growers of Fairlie 2012