Friday, June 3

Not up to standard

Just less than a fortnight ago we received a letter from the council which started with,
"Following a recent visit by an Estates Officer it was noted that your allotment plot does not appear to have been gardened recently".

What do you think?
This year the slugs have taken a liking to parsnip seedlings which initially germinated quickly and well. I have resown but fear it may be too late.

The strawberries are setting fruit but I hope the very low night temperatures haven't frosted the flowers still to set.
The Autumn Gold raspberries still need weeding - black mark!

The broad beans are flowering but are growing really slowly and putting on a valiant attempt to survive the weevils' attentions. Usually growth is fast enough to shirk off the nibbling.

The mangetout and sugarsnap peas are being more badly affected.

This year we are trying a new tactic with the carrots and instead of creating a tent with the enviromesh, to protect against carrot fly, we have just laid it loosely on top of the seed bed. As the carrots grow (how's that for optimism?) the mesh will be pushed up. We are hoping that the slugs will not like squirming underneath! The carrots germinated well and I have resown a few gaps in the rows but will the seedlings survive?
The early potatoes are the only ones not planted through weed control fabric. The idea is that this will make early harvesting of individual roots easier.

The brassicas, which were earlier attacked by slugs, seem to be making a fight back. The mesh is double, or even treble, protection against whitefly, butterflies and wood pigeons.

The summer onions and shallots are continuing to grow, but worryingly some onions are already producing seed heads. The smaller clumps of shallots in the foreground, (above left), are growing from sets planted straight into the ground whereas the rest were started in modules.
The blackberry is already full of flower and the Japanese wineberry is growing better than it ever has before.

The replanted autumn raspberries appear to be surviving.

Squashes will be planted behind the sweet peas.
For some reason the Glen Ample raspberries are not growing as well as the Tulameen. They have flowers setting but the plants appear to be stunted and the tips have died. Whatever the cause it doesn't appear to have affected Tulameen.

The climbing beans are newly planted just in time to be subjected to an almost frost (in June!). As we haven't been to the plot since the very low night temperature, (another black mark?), so we are just keeping fingers crossed that they have survived. We are spraying them with a slug repellent to try and ward off slug attack but can't spray against the cold. For some reason the Cobra plants haven't grown as strongly as the other varieties when last year they were the strongest climbing French beans.

The quince had lots of flowers but will these produce fruit and will we ever pick a fresh kiwi?

Despite one of our flowerbeds being in need of attention - black mark - it is starting to produce some flowers for cutting and a browsing area for the bees.
So back to THAT letter. Apparently the area causing concern to the council was this:
Apparently we hadn't planted the beds up yet and the estate officer didn't realise that we had other plots which were planted up - strange that they didn't know this! 

To get the beds ready for planting involved removing a barrowful of bindweed as the bed in the foreground once was home to a blackberry that we removed which was infested with the stuff. This bed will be sown with peas as in succession sowing.

Also courgettes will be planted in the large bed which are not yet ready to be planted out

The final bed will house the left over seed potatoes.  

Current weather conditions have put work on the plot behind but we didn't expect to be chastised for not keeping our allotment up to standard! I don't know what the council would make of the no-dig method!

If you haven't visited Martyn's blog recently, you may have missed the video he made of the plot. 


Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

43 comments:

  1. I hope you used some choice words for your response to the "Man from the Council" (who is evidently blind). Your plot is amazing, and so comprehensive! How could anyone ever accuse you of not maintaining it?? A case of mistaken identity, no doubt.

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    1. The man is a woman, Mark. I rang her and we had a long conversation during which I expressed my concern and she made a note in her records. No mistaken identity. She just didn't know that thismwas only a small part of our plot!

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  2. They must be looking at the wrong plot. Thank goodness our place isn't a council allotment or we would have had a letter long ago!

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    1. No she was definitely looking at this part of our plot F in D.

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  3. WOW! I'm absolutely outraged on your behalf. Down at my site your plot would be winning awards. Obviously whoever sent the letter has never tried allotment gardening. An expanse of soil left unattended for more than 5 minutes will be completely overgrown. I'm sat here steaming with fury and grinding my teeth. You are the hardest working allotmenteers I know. Should we start a petition?! Our new allotment in charge person is very sweet and hardly dares mention it when a plot is under 6ft of weeds and hasn't been touched for a year. The previous lady was quite draconian, so everyone is appreciating the change in management. I hope you have set the council straight.

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    1. After our telephone conversation, CJ she will not be progressing the complaint.

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    2. I'll sign that petition CJ !

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  4. Can I recommend that the council officer visit a qualified optician

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  5. I think perhaps the officer was at the wrong plot???
    Your allotment is GORGEOUS!! And planted. I think someone may have made a mistake. Hope it all gets straightened out for you

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    1. Not the wrong plot, Sue but things have been set straight.

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  6. Gobsmacked! I'd challenge the man from the council to find a plot that was better tended.

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    1. We were gobsmacked too, Jessica anfpd I couldn't get on the phone quickly enough!

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  7. You have worked hard and have many wonderful plants growing, man from council is obviously not a gardener!!!!
    Amanda xx

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    1. She said herself that she isn't a gardener, Amanda. She also said that all she looked at was whether a plot was actually being used and kept tidy not whether the plants were being grown well.

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  8. I was thinking the exact same thing as CJ. Neat edges and freshly tilled, weedless soil...who on earth would look at that and think it was a neglected piece of land...obviously not a gardener.

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    1. In the interest of fairness, Margaret, we have actually tilled the beds since the visit. When she visited the beds were covered with weed control fabric in readiness.

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  9. Staggering . . . Glad to hear you have things straightened out but must have been upsetting until it was cleared up.

    Has 'the woman' promised to confirm in writing that your plot IS being managed beautifully. You never know when she'll leave and you don't want some other twit looking at your file and thinking you and M. are an easy target.

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    1. It was cleared up very quickly, Jayne as I rang as soon as we received the letter. I think quite a few letters must have gone out because there has been quite a lot of activity over the last week or so.

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  10. That is awful Sue, I hope the council had the decency to apologise. xx

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    1. She did say she was sorry, Jo. She said that she hadn't realised that we had other areas of the plot to. That is what really surprised us.

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  11. Wow! I didn't imagine that's what your title would be referring to. Even if that was your only plot it still looks in great shape and clearly waiting for some planting - it's only just June for goodness sake!

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    1. Some planting is due today, Belinda - potatoes and some at least of the peas.

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  12. Not a gardener and not well enough prepared with a current plot plan for her inspection she shouldn't have carried it out, Sue. I can imagine how quickly you were on the phone, I would be too if I had the impressive and very well managed allotment plot you have. I'm very glad to hear you have had an apology at least. Not a good feeling for you at the time though.

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    1. Martyn was for just ignoring it bit that isn't the stiff that I am made of, Shirley. Apparently the state Officer is only part- time but this ought to be a reason for using technology. Tablet or phone with relevant documents/plans etc. Digital photos of plots being sent a letter so that when someone rings you can see what they are talking about.

      She did say that she sometimes gets the numbers wrong - no labelling on site - but as it seems that either side of us had letters too I can't see that is the case here.

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  13. What an idiot. If your council is anything like our council it is cutback after cutback after cutback so I'm surprised they have the money to spend on such a stupid cause, never mind that they didn't look at your records first.
    Silently seething
    Deb

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    1. I doubt that they actually have any records, Deb.
      There has been a lot of cutbacks by the council. They have also cut back quite a lot on any expenditure on allotments. We used to be entitled to skips at least twice a year now we get none and yet they still complain when rubbish is left on the allotments. I guess you are supposed to take it all home with you.

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  14. Do they not know WHO YOU ARE!
    Your allotment is superb.(Shame about the digging!) They would of course throw me off.

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    1. Very do now, Roger :-)

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    2. It sounds as if some busy body works for the council. Send them a link to your blog. Their notion of what a pot should look like seems very stereotyped and rather abstract.

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    3. Basically she didn't really look, Alain.

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  15. This is very strange letter Sue! The plot is progressing so well!
    Anyway what is the impact if you don't grow anything in the plot Sue?

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    1. If the council so wish, they can evict you from your plot, Malar.

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  16. He clearly needs his eyes testing. Your allotment is amazing.

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  17. I can understand that you and Martyn would have been perplexed at getting such a letter but well done your council for being vigilant (over-vigilant?) about plot upkeep and use. My local allotments has a huge waiting list and untended plots, a story repeated elsewhere I fear. Our local council handed management of allotments over to local committees in April of this year - another cut back.

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    1. The irony is Caro they aren't vigilant at all. We have about seven plots on our site that haven't really been visited for months and months and look as though the tenant has given up on them but they still haven't been reallocated. The estate officer only comes around once in a blue moon she then follows up her visit with letters. Then as long as in her words tenants have made some sort of effort to tidy up she leaves it again until her next visit probably about six months later. Once an effort is being made to make the plot look tidy it can then be left again until her next visit and then the whole thing is a picture later once an effort is being made to make the plot look tidy it can then be left again until her next visit and then the whole exercise is repeated. Once a plot has been vacated it can take ages to reallocate it. The plot next to us was kept immaculately and was vacated but by the time the plot was reallocated it was overgrown mess. No congratulations are warranted I'm afraid.

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  18. I am always amazed at how good and productive your allotment looks. How do you find the time and blog!

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    1. It is much improved since we retired, Brian. Also the weed control fabric helps considerably. We probably go to the allotment met the two or three afternoons a week. This does vary a lot depending on the time of year and how busy that time of year is. The blogging is a morning activity. There are still some parts that need attention though. Maybe these are not photographed as much.

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  19. I'm utterly speechless!!! Is this woman blind??? That would have had my blood boiling! Wow...just look at everything! I'm looking forward to harvests on your behalf!xxx

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    1. I think it would be fair to say that she has been known to turn a blind to some of the things that go on. Our letter implied that she was concerned that the plot hadn't been cultivated i.e. nothing had been planted. When I spoke to her it seemed that she was more concerned with everywhere looking neat and tidy. That's not going to happen on an
      allotment. Visit the day before the grass paths are cut and things look very different if a visit is the day after. The same applies to weeding.

      On top of all that, the weather plays a role and many of us are behind with things this year. Then there is the fact that many things can't be planted until the frost date has passed. All in all you need someone who understands these things to be in charge of allotment sites.



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    2. What do I think? How wrong can the bureaucrats get it? I'm astonished. But worried too that a small change in policy (now called "target setting") imposed by some mandarin can suspend common sense. As a rule they like to see people scurrying around demonstrating hoop jumping behaviour in response while shouting "How High?" "How High?"

      Your photographic evidence is the ideal defence against such madness.

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    3. I am not a "How high?" sort of person, Mal

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