Glyphosate and Our Allotments

Position Paper from the Committee: Glyphosate and Our Allotments:

The presentation on the use of glyphosate on our allotments at the pre-AGM session in April 2019 asked two main questions:

  • Do we continue to sell it in the shop or stop selling it?
  • Do we do nothing about its use? Ban its use? Or make rules about its use?

The Committee were tasked with considering options and coming up with a position paper on the subject.  You can read it here.

We would like members’ feedback on the suggested guidelines for use in the paper, with a view to providing a final set to members for use over the next few years (before the 5 year EU renewal expires in 2022).  Please send your comments to the Association Secretary to collate.

The Committee believes that as an Association we should all be aiming to limit or eliminate the use of chemicals on plots.

2020 Pennard’s Potato Fair

Sunday 5th January saw this year’s Potato Fair take place – again at WOCA.  It was incredibly busy all the time from 10 until 12.30. We reckon that there even more people attended than last year – we will be able to check once Pennard Plants who organised it let us know the sales figures.

Many thanks to ODFAA people who set up tables and ODFAA stuff – they sold and distributed numerous copies of the 1919-2019 Centenary Oxford Allotments book (still available from the ODFAA website)

We have already booked Pennard Plants for next year … Jan 10th 2021 from 10:00 until 13:00.  Being a week later means they will have onion sets on sale unlike this year (sorry!)

So put the date in your diary now but we will remind you nearer the date.

Allotment Shop Refurbishment

Our Allotment Shop team have been hard at work, with the help of some talented volunteers, to refurb the shop interior – making it much easier to move around and store and find stock.  Many thanks also to several local businesses that donated unwanted items such as sinks, table tops etc.

We have now added a notice board and we think we may get a new sink from the power station when they renovate next year.

Come in and take a look for yourselves …

Crop rotation and Companion Planting Guides

Two guides from SowSeeds that may be of interest to members:

Crop rotation is the process of growing vegetables in their respective families and moving the families around a plot in a specific sequence so they are not grown on the same piece of land for at least 3 years.

Companion planting is an organic method of maintaining a natural balance in your garden, aiding pollination and keeping pest numbers down.  Most companion plants are strongly scented and confuse pests looking for their host plant.

Dealing with flooded allotments

It is that time of year again – with a number of weather systems moving in from the Atlantic, both allotment sites have begun to flood – the ground is now saturated and likely to remain so for much of this winter.

We found this document from Cornell University which offers some guidance on dealing with flooded vegetable fields.

There is also this website providing advice on recovering from a flooded allotment. It suggests that fruit and vegetables that are eaten raw should be avoided for at least 6 months. This will give the plant enough time to recover and for any contaminants to break down naturally. Root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips, and edible fruit from trees above the flood water should be safe to eat in just a few weeks, but make sure you boil any root vegetables thoroughly before consumption

Please do take care when moving around the sites as it can be difficult to know where the edges of paths are and there are of course the usual trip hazards and upward facing pointy objects (canes etc.) that need to be avoided.

Twenty Pound Meadow Security Fencing

Thanks to our local Councillors Susanna Pressel and Colin Cooke who stumped up the cash we have been able to take this project forward.

The Northern boundary of Twenty Pound Meadow has never had proper security fencing like the rest of the site and there have been numerous repeated break-ins over the last year.  Holes in the hedge and weak chain-link fencing are still appearing so this stronger fencing is clearly needed

The fence is progressing – about a third of it constructed so far, thanks to a volunteer work party and assistance from Oxfordshire Community Payback services.

Also – massive thanks to Jude from the Committee who is leading the work on this.

Water Harvesting spreads

The Association’s experience with solar powered water harvesting is spreading.  Nick and Phil have shown off the equipment at Botley Meadow to more than six other allotment associations.

The latest association, Spragglesea Mead & Dean’s Ham (off Abingdon Road) have just installed their system for pumping water from the lake next to them. They thanked OSTNB for leading the way on this and said that they had been asked for advice from others on similar schemes

Seed Potato Orders 2019

We would like to order from BHGS as we did last year, by mid November. We will expect delivery early in the new year. We need your contact details, both to let you know when they have arrived, and in case there is any query about your order. You will pay for them when you collect from us, but if you fail to collect and pay for them within a reasonable time, we reserve the right to sell them in the shop.

Please use the order form here:

Haws, Hips & Elder

Ally’s October blog begins: “The autumn equinox, the second harvest on the Celtic wheel of the year which powered through our lives recently along with a full moon, is a time for gathering, preparing for winter, celebrating our harvest and knowing what needs pruning back. We can follow these actions on our allotments, and if we are wise we will also follow this thread and ask these questions of our lives; what is the harvest in my life at this time? How am I preparing for winter? What and how I am celebrating and appreciating, and what in my life needs pruning back, has become overwhelming?”   Read more here.