Cases of manure contamination are still cropping up
see here so it's still important to take care when acquiring supplies. This is especially important in areas where Forefront weedkiller is available.


Support fellow allotment holders in Edinburgh by signing this petition asking their council to think again about proposals to massively increase allotment rents

Friday, September 28

Winners!!


Three plots on our site won recognition in the Wakefield Allotments' Competition.
Congratulations to all three couples. To find out who the winners are click here.

Thursday, September 27

Sunderland's Pickle Factory

It's not just squirrels who are storing food for winter!
Click on picture for larger view

pickle factory

Wednesday, September 26

So who has been eating our hazel nuts?

Under our hazel bushes are lots of broken hazel nut shells.


nuts

Just wonder if someone like this could be the culprit?

squirrel sitting

I haven't seen any squirrels on the site. Has anyone else? We certainly have some in the garden at home where they are busily stealing the peanuts put out for the birds and burying them. Click here to read about grey squirrels and view the video clip of a squirrel busy in our garden. Must admit we did encourage him or her. If squirrels are helping themselves to the hazel nuts then they are welcome to them. I took some home and they weren't paticularly nice.

Tuesday, September 25

Web site is back 18:03

I have just emailed support and web site is now back - don't know if it was a coincidence or really good service!!

Let's hope it stays with us!!!

17:50 Our web site appears to be temporarily unavailable

It would seem that our web site is not available at the moment - I will keep checking and post here when it is up and running again. I assume it is at the storage end of the chain!!!

Monday, September 24

September's tour of the site is now ready to view

Click here to view the larger photographs. Scroll down to the bottom of the September diary page.




Lots of bare soil and signs of autumn this month!

Sunday, September 23

September's diary

September's diary has been updated click here - September's photographs will soon be posted!

Poppy says ...

framed
OK Pat - I agree that they are prize winning parsnips but I was hoping for something a little different for dinner!

Remember these?

cabbage

The photo above was taken in June after brassicas had been ravaged by pigeons. The picture below of the same cabbages was taken this month. These cabbages weren't even netted just left as a stark reminder of the pigeons presence!

pigeon cabbage

Or what about this?

Caterpllar Damage

This was our broccoli at the end of August - it had suffered a caterpillar attack whilst we were on holiday. We removed the caterpillars and now, just a few weeks later, it looks like this.

caterpillar broc

Moral: Don't be too quick to pull it up and throw it away!! The 'pests' don't always win.

Friday, September 21

Should the government directly support allotment regeneration?

Allotment spending seems to be another example of postcode lottery. Some councils provide their sites with sheds, wood and paving and others spend a pitiful amount on their sites.

So is it time the government stepped in and put some ring-fenced funding directly into allotment regeneration?

Click here to read why I think that they should. If you agree with me then do what I did and write to your MP!

The Government department responsible for allotments is The Department of Communities and Local Government - I wrote to them too but just got a stock reply saying that they couldn't dictate to local councils, which wasn't the point that I made in the letter. I sort of knew that already - I wanted some direct givernment support.
In the Planning Policy Guidance 17: Planning for open space, sport and recreation which was added to their website in August 2007. I could only spot word allotment mentioned once (correct me if I am wrong) and this mention was as seventh in a list of ten areas which come under the broad title of Green Space.

In an article on their web site dated 16 March 2005 (a very short article) it stated
"What is our policy for allotments
Allotments and community gardens are valuable green spaces that can help improve people's quality of life by promoting healthy food, exercise and community interaction.
Communities and Local Government (Communities and Local Government) is responsible for government policy on allotments. It is our aim that allotments should be properly preserved, promoted and cared for."


Strange it seems that this page on the web site has suddenly disappeared! I'll post a link if it reappears.

By the way Hazel Blears is the minister in overall chrage of this department so I am going to try her next! At least we can let them all know that we exist!

You may also be interested in the publication Allotments - A Plot holders guide. It was published in December 2001 and is freely downloadable. Page 5 - What can I expect to be provided? may be of interest.

What do you think? Do you live in an area where allotments fare well? Tell us about it! .

Monday, September 17

Is this white blister or white rust?

At the weekend I noticed some strange 'growths' on one of our brassica leaves. Other plots seem to also have the same thing. In all the years that we have been allotmenting, I have never seen this before. The closest that I can come to identifying what is wrong is white blister (also known as white rust). The photos that I have found though just don't look the same as mine - see below. Also the information says that this is a fungus prevalent in mild, damp seasons!
Anyone any ideas?

blisters

Latest Tenants' Agreement

For those of you on Green Lane who have never seen your tenants' agreement click here. This is the latest version provided by the allotments' officer.

Sunday, September 16

Request from Site Secretary

Can I ask everyone not to use the communal plot - (the one with the pussy willow tree) - as a dump for unwanted materials - see photos below. The burning area must only be used for burning wood from the site. The burning is organised by Barry so please check with Barry before placing materials there.

tipping

During the autumn and winter period we are going to clear this area and create a storage area for manure, wood chippings etc and any dumping will just make our task all the more difficult. Also the allotments' officer covers the cost of the rental of this plot on behalf of the allotment association on the understanding that it is used for the stated purpose.

Saturday, September 15

Dead links

I have repaired the link from the dahlia posting. Please let me know if any links in the blog do not work so that I can deal with them.

Pat's Sweet Piccalilli

Those of us who have tried this can vouch that it tastes really good! It uses courgettes instead of cucumber. Have a go while you are still trying to think of what to do with your courgettes or maybe to be more accurate marrettes - OK so they are probably marrows by now!

pickle2
This piccalilli goes really well with pork pie - especially eaten outdoors on a sunny day! Click here for the recipe
By the way what happened to all the courgette recipes that must be out there - it seems most of our readers are too shy to contribute!

Friday, September 14

Do you love potatoes?

Well maybe they love you too!

potato

Email me a photo of your interesting potatoes or any other strange shaped vegetable and I'll post it on the blog.
Joe grew this special valentine for Pat or did Pat grow it for Joe?

Monday, September 10

Do you want your dahlias to continue flowering?

Many plants benefit from regular dead heading and dahlias are one such plant. So which of the stems below would you cut out? Both of them - neither? Are you unsure then click here to read more.

dahlia

Let's hope that we don't have an early frost or you could be dead heading for nothing!

Thursday, September 6

So should we compost weeds or not?

100_4309

This isn’t as clear cut as you might think.
Weeds are very rich in minerals and nitrogen. If they are all removed and burned you are in effect stripping nourishment from your soil. Many, particularly nettles, are very good for compost heaps as they speed up the rotting process and consequently heat up the heap. The more heat that is generated by rotting compost then the more seeds and disease are killed.

Some say that you can compost any sort of weed as long as you leave it on the heap for a few years before using the resulting compost. Some say that you should dry out the weeds and then compost them. Some say that as long as you don't compost strong roots and seeds then you can compost anything.

One thing that is for sure is that whether you compost your weeds or not you will always have plenty of them on your plot. For one thing weed seeds can lay dormant in the soil for very many years. Apparently bindweed seed remains viable for 30 years or so. So maybe you may just as well compost your weeds and have some benefit from them as removing them will have little effect.

Though you won’t eradicate weeds altogether unless you resort to some form of deadly chemical warfare, you will find that the type of weeds found on your plot will change over the years. Some species colonise uncultivated soil whereas others will move in after soil has been cultivated for a while. Like other plants different types of weeds prefer differing soil conditions too. You can guarantee that if weeds won’t grow on your plot you are unlikely to have much success with more choice crops.

They say that if you can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen but it could just as easily be if you can’t stand weeding then give up your plot. Maybe you can just learn to live with them – after all some people call them wild flowers!

So what do you think?

Wednesday, September 5

Minutes of Meeting on 29 July 2007

The minutes from the meeting on 29 July 2007 are now available on the web site - click here to view. It isn't too late to send in your views about the time, place and frequency of the association meetings. But could you please email by the end of this week.

Sunday, September 2

September Diary

Our September diary has been started - doesn't time fly? Click here to view.

Allotment August 2007 022

August's diary is also complete click here to view

Wakefield Express

If you missed us in the Wakefield Express - the article is now on their web site. Click here to view. Pity that we have had no takers though. Hope it isn't because the email address is slightly wrong! If you do wish to support us them please use the email link on the sidebar.