City bees: allotments and gardens can help arrest decline

A recent article in the Guardian reports that allotments, weedy corners and fancy gardens are all urban havens for bees and other pollinators, a study has found.

Allotments are particularly good places for pollinators because they provide a mix of fruit and vegetable flowers, plus weedy corners full of native plants. “Allotments are incredibly important at a city level, despite their small area,” said Katherine Baldock at the University of Bristol, who led the research. “They are a good place for pollinators to hang out and provide a win-win situation, as they are also good for food growing and for people’s health.”

The research, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, found allotments often had 10 times more bees than parks, cemeteries and urban nature reserves.

Read the full article here.

West Oxford Grow Your Own & Potato Fair

Following the success of our Potato Fair earlier this year, ODFAA have organised a repeat in January 2019.

This is an excellent opportunity to try out different potato varieties as they can be bought by the tuber.  This summer Botley Meadow conducted a trial of several varieties purchased at the potato fair – to see which ones grew best in the local soil.

The Fair will be held on Sunday 6th January in the large hall at WOCA from 10.30 am to 1.30pm.

UPDATE: Check out the results from the Botley Meadow Potato Trial using tubers bought at the 2018 Potato Fair.

Botley Meadow Polytunnel – places going fast

  • Want to grow tender seedlings or heat-loving crops but don’t have a greenhouse? No problem!
  • Why not rent one of the spaces in our new communal polytunnel?
  • All proceeds go towards polytunnel maintenance, other Botley Meadow projects and site maintenance
  • Priority renting to Botley Meadow plot holders
  • Very reasonable rates!

UPDATE: As of the beginning of March we only have a couple of places left in the polytunnel

Speak to Nick (49), Pól (50), Phil (21a) or Glenn (59) – all on Botley Meadow – for further details.

UK heatwaves lasting twice as long as 50 years ago – Met Office

The Met Office annual UK Climate Report has been updated and shows some interesting statistics that may be of interest to allotmenteers:

  • Warm spells are becoming much more prolonged. From 1961 to 1990, the average longest warm spell each year was 5.3 days. From 2008 to 2017 this more than doubled to 13.2 days. This year, which is not included in these statistics, was even longer at 17 days. Notably, the south-east has seen an especially striking increase over the same period, up from an average of 6.1 days to 18.3 days.
  • While the temperature on the hottest day of the year has risen roughly in line with the average annual rate of warming since 1961, the coldest day has warmed at twice that rate. In the 30 years until 1990, the bitterest winter night in the UK averaged -8.5C. From 2008 to 2017 it was -6.8C.
  • The metric of “icing days”, which shows the average number of days each year with freezing temperatures, has fallen from 4.8 to 3.2. In the south-east last year there was not a single day averaging below 0C.

Tree Pruning Course 2018


Following the success of the last course we organised, on Saturday, 2 December, from 9.00 to 1.00, a tree pruning expert from Waterperry Gardens will be offering a course on pruning fruit trees. It will start with a one-hour session at the Community Centre, followed by three hours of instruction and practice on the allotment. This will take place at the north-west corner of Twenty Pound Meadow (the Tumbling Bay end) next to the bonfire site location where there are a number of mature apple trees that need pruning. All the pruning practice will take place there, not on other allotments.

Chris Lanczak is manager of the orchard and chief gardener at Waterperry Gardens – for more information see this article from the Oxford Times.

The course will cost £10.00. You’ll need to register for the course because the number of participants is limited to 20. If you wish to register, contact Gus Fagan ( Once your registration has been accepted, you need to pay in advance in the shop. If you have not paid then we reserve the right to offer your place to those on a waiting list.

On the day, you will need a good sharp pruning shears, pruning saw, or lopper. You will also need a good pair of gloves. All pruning will be done from the ground – no ladders.


Annual Rent Renewal

It is rapidly approaching that time of year again to pay your allotment rent for the forthcoming year.  There are three opportunities to do so:

You can pay your rent at the Association shop (on the Twenty Pound Meadow site) between 10am and 12pm on the first three Sundays in September – 2nd, 9th or 16th.

A full plot costs £25 for the 2018-19 and a half plot costs £12.50. Cheques can be accepted and should be made payable to: Osney St Thomas & New Botley Allotments Association.

Please remember to pay your rent on time as if the Committee have to chase people for rent it becomes very time-consuming.  Indeed the rules allow the Committee to charge late payment fines and we are actively considering this as an option.

We strongly encourage you to pay your rent in person so that if there is anything we need to discuss with you concerning your plot we have the opportunity to do so  If you cannot make any of the available dates then please make alternative arrangements or contact one of the Committee members.

Late Summer BBQ 2018 at Botley Meadow

We are having our second BBQ of the summer on Sunday August 26th from 1pm onwards.

As usual it is a ‘bring and share’ event (we don’t use any of the association funds to cover this) – so please bring what food and drink you can!

It will be held on the grassy area outside Glenn’s shed (plots 58 & 59) in the north-west corner of the site.

We look forward to seeing you there.

The BM Allotment Committee

New data protection legislation

On May 25th 2018 the General Data Protection Requirement (GDPR) comes into force – replacing the previous Data Protection Act. GDPR requirements include that members of all organisations need to be made aware of the information held about them, and the uses to which that data is put.

The Allotment Association holds some (or all) of the following data about each of its members: Name, Plot number, and on which site, Postal address, Landline phone number and/or mobile phone number, Email address.

We will be contacting each of you shortly by email or by post to explain what data we hold and how we use it. We have taken advice and are confident we can demonstrate that the Association has what is termed a Legitimate Interest in holding and using this data – as without it we would be unable to function as an organisation (e.g. if we couldn’t contact you then we couldn’t rent out a plot to you).

You can find further details of what data we hold and how we store and use it in our Association Data Protection and Website Privacy Policy.