August 2016 Allotment News

Thanks to the volunteers

We sometimes forget to thank our many volunteers and helpers. Many allotment members help in different ways to keep our fields well ordered. Some of the voluntary help that has been done recently includes:

  1. A member who uses her cordless battery powered strimmer to keep the grass on the ridings and paths short. This is something we should all be doing on the paths next to our own plot, but this member strims the paths to many nearby plots. Thank you.
  2. Likewise, several members use lawnmowers to keep the grass short and the paths navigable. Thanks.
  3. A member who has taken some old carpets and other rubbish to the tip. As has been mentioned before we should no longer be bringing old carpets to allotments, but for many years this was thought a useful way to suppress weeds and there is still a lot of old carpet on our fields. We now know that carpet may contain harmful dyes and if it is left for a long time it is very difficult to remove, particularly when wet. A dry spell in the summer is an ideal time to take your stanley knife to any carpet on your plot, bag it up and take it to the bin or tip. Unfortunately carpet is non-recyclable.
  4. Members have been collecting stones from their plots in buckets and then placing these in the pot-holes or wheel ruts along the ridings and tracks. This helps keep the ridings navigable and safe. Thanks again.
  5. Neighbouring members helping each other, for example when one is on holiday or unwell. A member has helped out a neighbour who is new to allotments and had a badly overgrown plot. Weeds were removed and rubbish cleared ready to take to the tip.
  6. A member who repairs the mains water troughs when faults occur. Although we encourage members to collect free rain water, we still have some mains water troughs and these do require maintenance. This service saves the Society a lot of money on plumber’s bills.
  7. Members who close and lock the gate(s). It is a requirement to close the gate behind you but occasionally a gate has been left open. Thankfully our conscientious members spot it and lock it quickly. Thanks again.
  8. Members who look after a friend’s chickens when he has been unwell, keeping them housed and fed safely and protected from the local fox.
  9. A member who is co-ordinating the key allocation for the secure container at Scott Road.
  10. Committee members who volunteered to be cup judges for our annual cup award. Many thanks.

What have we missed?

The list above is only what has been seen recently. If you know of any other voluntary help that is being given please let us know and we can thank them too. Make a comment please.

Please volunteer yourself

If you are able why not volunteer to help the Society. If you are not sure what needs doing, please ask your field steward. There are usually many tasks that need doing and we can always use more volunteers.

Mailing list update

Our committee members, field stewards and officers are also volunteers. They have to fit their service to the committee into their busy lives as well as tending their own plots. This is why it has taken so long to update the mailing list. If you have not received the previous newsletters, we apologise. Fortunately you can access previous newsletters on this WordPress site. If you no longer have an allotment and do not want these newsletters, please contact us so we can keep the list up-to-date.

Waiting Lists news

We currently have short waiting lists at Windmill Avenue and Northfield Avenue. Windmill Avenue has little turnover, so waiting times are very long as there are so few plots that become vacant. Northfield Avenue has experienced quite high turnover, so waiting times are quite short. Scott Road is full but plots regularly become vacant and so waiting time is very short. Margaret Road is nearly full, with a few vacant plots.

Problems occur when a plot is neglected and becomes very overgrown with weeds. This year we have seen some plots where the weeds have reached 8 feet high! Field stewards have to work hard then to find out of the tenant has given up or is unwell. Sometimes tenants have moved without telling us. Due process has to be followed before a tenant on an neglected plot can be evicted, meanwhile the weeds keep growing. Striking the balance is not easy and often stewards have their diplomacy skills tested.

This is where you can help! If you notice that your allotment neighbour has not been cultivating and the plot is becoming neglected, talk to your field steward. Enquiries can be made and the steward can offer support if the tenant is experiencing difficulties or begin the eviction process if it is straightforward neglect.

Scythes make a comeback

Members on Scott Road have been re-discovering the usefulness of a scythe to clear overgrown areas, weeds and tall grass. The scythe has been used for centuries before the combine harvester, mower and strimmer. Now it makes a comeback for superior weed cutting.

See this story form the Daily Telepgraph

Scythe vs strimmer – which is best?

A scythe:-

  • is lighter to carry
  • sustainable, as it doesn’t need petrol or oil (fossil fuel) (but is does need carbohydrates!)
  • “starts up” first time
  • cuts a larger area with each sweep
  • is quicker than a strimmer ( see youtube for contests)
  • collects the cuttings in a neat pile rather than scattering them everywhere
  • less need for eye protection (safety glasses must be worn with a strimmer)
  • is quieter
  • low maintenance

Where to buy a scythe?

Try the scythe shop – mail order.

or try eBay e.g.