Tuesday 23 October 2012

One for Tanya - Celebrating Celeriac

Last year I tried growing celeriac, and all I got was straggly roots. See here    So this year I was pleased when I got a celeriac this big:

How big?    Well not that big....

...but at least the stem swelled.  Obviously they got enough water. Just have to ensure they get more  nutrients next time.

Monday 22 October 2012

Is that all there is?

Beans have been a waste of time this year - even runner beans! I grew them at the allotment and I grew them in raised beds but the results were like the weather - dismal!

Barlotti -  Nul points
Blue Lake - Nul points
Canadian Wonder - Nul points
Sungold - 1/2 point
Painted Lady - One point
Scarlet Emporer - Nul Points

Clearly I've been barking up the wrong pole this year. I'm tempted just to grow tatties and neeps next year (except that my neeps failed this year too and the tatties got blight!)

For the record I planted garlic, shallots and onions today.  The new year has arrived!

Saturday 13 October 2012

At the end of the year

A visit to the plot today confirmed the inevitable   The frost and wind have stopped the beans in their tracks and killed off the courgettes. That's it for this year!

2012 has been the wettest coldest year on record. Despite everything there were some results:

One day in September...

Proud of this one 

The label says it all

Beans and sky

A forrest of fennel

Late beans

Barlotti bean pods - but no beans to speak of.

Curly Kale

Leek flowerhead

This year's tomatoes - all of them!


Jerusalem artichoke, cabbages, brussel sprouts, parsnips and leeks to look forward too.  Roll on 2013.

Sunday 7 October 2012

Gardening 267 Golf 6

In its first Allotment Strategy: Cultivating Communities(2002) City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) adopted the following comparability factors:
  • The level of allotment rents in the rest of Scotland and the scale in England
  • costs of other outdoor recreational or leisure activities provided by the authority.

The second of these factors was underpinned  by the  court case of  Harwood  v Reigate & Banstead Borough Councils in the High Court Chancery Division when Mr Harwood challenged a 300% rent rise and succeeded.  The judge ruled that as other amenity charges had not been raised in proportion this was a discriminatory practice and unlawful. The full transcript can be read here

So what has happened to allotment rents?  Since 2005

  • Edinburgh allotment rents have gone up 267% and are set to £100 for 2014.
  • Glasgow rents meantime have tracked the RPI and are currently £33.50
  •  In the same period the cost of an Edinburgh Leisure Card has dropped from £43 to £25 and the following increases made on the sports tariff:

Gym           6%
Swim           39%
Tennis          8%
Golf             6%
Football       32%

So inflation for Edinburgh golfers is 6%.  For allotment gardeners it is 267% !

What happened to the comparability factors?  They have been dropped in a dash for cash. Clearly allotment holders are an easy target. Once FEDAGA sided with the Council the rest of the 1,300 Edinburgh Alltment holders were deprived of a voice.

No one can be in any doubt that City of Edinburgh allotment rent rises are illegal. 

*Note - this post has been updated to include data for the current year

Tuesday 2 October 2012


The first column of this table shows the rent agreed by the Edinburgh wide allotment association FEDAGA (Federation of Edinburgh & District Allotment and  Garden Association) and landlord City of Edinburgh Council (CEC)  for each year.

The last column shows what our rent would have been if it had tracked the RPI. (? - Of course we don't know the RPI for the next two years -although we do know our rent hike) Here's what a graphic comparison of the figures reveals:

The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999 makes it automatically unfair for a landlord to impose an arbitrary increase in rent. Guidance by the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) on unfair terms in tenancy agreements indicates that unless increases are linked to such external factors as the RPI or evaluated by an objective person independent of the landlord they may be deemed to be unfair. It does not foresee that the representative body of the tenants might collude with the landlord in putting up rents! Clearly an oversight.