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Oatridge WW1 Allotment goes Out of Doors!

Published Wednesday, 6th July 2016 in Oatridge Campus news

BBC out of Doors interview

A First World War inspired allotment project run by SRUC Oatridge was featured on BBC Radio Scotland’s Out of Doors programme recently in a special feature recorded at the Royal Highland Show.

The broadcast was given a high profile five minute slot on the popular Saturday morning show – and tied in with the 100 years anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

The feature took the form of a tour of the garden, with Out of Doors reporter Laura Cuthill being given a tour of the allotment by George Gilchrist, Horticultural Lecturer before moving on to chat with Ian Kilgallon, one of the students involved with the project.

The allotment, which offered a fascinating glimpse of how people gardened a hundred years ago – as part of the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign – was the main part of the Countryside Cottage demonstration area at the Ingliston showground.

The horticultural staff and lecturers cultivated a wide range of over 50 food crops grown during the period of conflict – which were replanted at the Royal Highland Show. They also devised a series of hand written slate labels which told the story of each variety.

The aim of the allotment display was to underline the crucial role food production played during the WW1 campaign – when the amount of food eaten which was produced in this country soared from 40% to 75%.

It also offered the opportunity to compare the developments of a hundred years of plant breeding and the improvements in vegetable growing techniques.

George Gilchrist said: "The Out of Doors radio feature was all arranged at less than 24 hours notice at the show itself, so it was a steep learning curve for me.

"But it was an enjoyable experience – and a great way to promote the horticultural department at SRUC Oatridge."

You can listen to the programme on the BBC Radio iPlayer by following this link. The feature starts at approx. 56.30 mins.

Photo caption: George Gilchrist, Horticulture Lecturer at SRUC Oatridge being interviewed by Out of Doors reporter Laura Cuthill, with student Ian Kilgallon waiting his turn.

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