Twenty Pound Meadow Community Picnic

You are most cordially invited to join
The Twenty Pound Meadow Community Picnic on 5th September 2021 from 12.30pm onwards

Sunday 5th is the first rent audit day ~ so pay your dues and party on! Which is when you can meet up with other plot holders who garden on each of our sites: Twenty Pound Meadow and Botley Meadow.

How the picnic will work:

  • You bring your own picnic, drinks, rug etc with some to share
  • You bring any veggies we can cook and share on the community BBQ
  • Then enjoy the live music
  • Have yours and your child’s face painted
  • Bring and take to and from the seed and plant swap stall
  • Learn about what you could help with on the site, how to garden organically and about the 2021 bumble bee survey of our site
  • And have fun including taking part in the games and quizzes we will have laid on!

Many thanks to Anne James and Tim Kiggell for organising this and all the others who have helped!

Meadowsweet – Queen of the Meadow

Check out Ally’s latest post on Meadowsweet and its various uses:

I love Her graceful presence by Riverbank and Meadow. Her creamy-white heads bowing in the breeze, often adorned with the buzz, buzz, buzzing of Bees, a sure sign of summer. Dear Meadowsweet, also known as Meadwort and Bridewort. She is part of the rose family and flowers from June-August. This old medicinal herb stands tall between 80 – 200cm and has dark green leaves, like those of large rose petals. Her flowering heads have a lovely sweet smell and taste …

Read more here

The Organic Working Group (OWG)

Introducing a new initiative for Twenty Pound Meadow West Oxford Allotments:  The Organic Working Group (OWG)

At the last AGM a proposal to ban the use of Glyphosate at our allotment sites was passed.  Use of Glyphosate is now against allotment rules and publicity about this rule change will be sent to all members in due course.

But what about the broader issues of caring for and sharing responsibility for the soil, the bio diversity and the set up of Twenty Pound Meadow allotments? What about all the other chemicals we still use…especially those that might do damage to bio diversity, damage the soil, wash into other allotments during flooding and potentially create tensions between allotment neighbours?  What about managing and improving our soils organically over time, finding ways to enhance and support insects and helpful ‘weeds’?  In short, what about creating a positive community of hobby growers going 100% organic?

I have therefore proposed to initiate an organic working group for plot holders on the Twenty Pound Meadow (TPM) site. The aim of this group is to get to know other TPM veg growers who aspire to use zero chemicals on their plot, to share knowledge and discuss organic solutions to challenges occurring both in our individual plots, and to find ways to improve plant and animal diversity.  The group could also contribute ideas and proposals to decisions concerning all these issues regarding the allotment site in general and for future changes to allotment rules.

Everyone would be is welcome to join the group, even (or especially) if you are still using chemicals on your plot. Please join if you are interested in an organic approach to food growing and are open to learning and sharing. This is just a starting point to get those interested together, we could then decide as a collective what we wish to focus on.

Our initial session will be facilitated by Tobias.

To sign up or just to check it out, please email Tobias at tobisturmer@hotmail.com  Subject ‘OWG’, and you will be sent the invite.  Once I have expressions of interest, I’ll propose a time and date for meeting, most likely somewhere on our site.

Thank you,

Tobias

Allotments AGM – Thursday 13 May 2021

The AGM took place last night over Zoom and was well-attended by members from both sites.

  • The committee was re-elected for another year – with Nick Jackson as Association Secretary and Cathy Stewart as Association Treasurer.  Please see the Committee pages for further details
  • The meeting agreed with the Committee’s proposal for the Association to become an incorporated Cooperative organisation – more details to follow
  • The meeting also agreed a proposal to ban the storage and use of Glyphosate-based herbicides on both of our sites.  Members have one month to dispose of any of these that they might have and application of these is forbidden – the rules will be updated to reflect this decision

Invitation (went out 5 May): Just a reminder that the AGM takes place over Zoom next Thursday (13 May).  The agenda and paperwork can be found here. The meeting will start at 7:30pm so please try and connect a few minutes early where you will enter the waiting room.  We will let you into the meeting as soon as we can. You should have received the Zoom invite in an email today (5 May).  If you haven’t please email the Secretary.

If you would like to join the Committee there is a form to complete at the bottom of the agenda.

Carry on Composting & Wild Garlic and Nettle Fritters

Check out Ally’s latest post on composting and a recipe for Wild Garlic and Nettle Fritters:

What could be better on a much needed rainy afternoon than foraging for Ramsons (wild garlic) and nettles to make tasty spring-green fritters! Having just harvested four wheelbarrow loads of compost from my compost bin my heart is brimming over in appreciation and awe for the cycles of life and the alchemical processes that happen in darkness.

I wanted to find out more about the magicians who do their work in the darkness, recycling our food-waste, wilted plants, flowers and greens from the plot mixed with a little cardboard, to become the nutrients for the seeds and shoots to come…

Read more here.

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.

The National Allotment Society have produced a leaflet dealing with flooding on allotments – it can be found under the Resources for Members section here.

We also 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.

Earth’s Green Milk – a Tonic for Spring

Read some of Ally’s latest blog on Earth’s Green Milk – a Tonic for Spring:

“The days are growing longer and brighter as the Fire in the Sky waxes and the days are still cold. Taking care of our health and well-being is essential, particularly in these times, and we are fortunate to be surrounded by places of beauty to walk, forage and to give our appreciation to.

Earth’s green milk is the old name for the humble stinging nettle; an earthy, generous creature if ever there was one.  It’s leaves, new shoots and seeds are edible and the tough stems can be dried and woven into cloth or made into cordage.  Nettle is anti-inflammatory packed with vitamins A, B & C, iron, potassium and chromium”.

Ally Plot 77

You can read the full article here.

Extending the communal orchard on Twenty Pound Meadow

There are 10 new year-old apple trees on Twenty Pound Meadow, doubling the size of the communal orchard and promising a juicy harvest in a few years time.

When choosing which trees to plant, we went for a range: some for their Oxford connections (Oxford Conquest, Blenheim Orange) or because they were good juicers from close-by (Ashmeads Kernal, Winter King).  Some are historic, harking back as far as Roman times (Court Pendu Plat, Kidds Orange).  And some are just good all round ‘doers’ – Cox’s Orange Pippin, Pixie and Suntan.

Each new tree has a designated ‘adopter’ from amongst Twenty Pound members.  The ‘adopter’ has planted it and will prune and water regularly over the first year.

Soon, there will be signs for each new tree to tell its history, illustrate its apple, and explain its pruning requirements. We hope people will come and visit – the orchard is at the end of the main road, by the bonfire site – and perhaps visitors will return to watch them grow or to notice how and when to prune both new and established trees.

Many thanks to Gus Fagan who sourced the trees and created a handy downloadable planting and pruning guide.  Thanks to the many adopters, too. Planting these trees was a positive way to finish an often difficult year.

Jude Carroll

Elder at the Autumn Equinox

Read some of Ally’s latest blog on Elder at the Autumn Equinox:

The Autumn Equinox falls between 20th and 23rd September in the Northern Hemisphere.  This is a time for taking stock, garnering our harvest, thanks-giving and pausing.  All of the festival days on the old Celtic calendar are an invitation to pause, pay attention to what is actually happening within and all around, acknowledge community – of the human and the wider than human word within which our lives exist and depend upon, and to shower gratitude and appreciation for all that we have been given, including the moments in life that have tested us and enabled us to deepen, mature and surrender to something larger than our ideas about our selves and the world.

You can read the full article here.

2020 Allotment Plot Rent Renewal

With only a few days of August left it is time to remind you that all rents are due in September. As in previous years we will be collecting these on the first three Sundays – the 6th, 13th and 20th September – from 10am to 12pm.

However, 2020 has been a difficult year and there will, necessarily, be some changes to the way we collect rent this time. These are designed to protect you and to protect the Committee members collecting the rent:

  • We will be collecting rent outside the shop on the Twenty Pound Meadow site.  We plan to use the Association’s Event Shelters in case of bad weather – one for Botley Meadow and one for Twenty Pound Meadow. It should go without saying but please remember which site your plot is on and join the correct queue
  • We will expect members to respect 2 metre social distancing at all times
  • We will only accept payment using our contactless card reader.  If you are paying for more than 1½ plots (i.e. more than £45) we will ask you to make multiple payments.
  • Neither cash nor cheques will be accepted for reasons of COVID-19 hygiene
  • At our most recent meeting the Committee reconfirmed that we will not accept online bank transfers. These are sometimes difficult to attribute to an individual on bank statements, causing additional work for the Treasurer. More importantly, turning up and paying in person is often the only opportunity we have to address issues with members face to face.
  • Advance cheques sent to the Secretary, Treasurer or left in the Shop letterbox will not be accepted unless previously agreed by communication directly with the Secretary – and then only in very exceptional circumstances
  • We are aware that a few of you are likely still to be shielding and therefore unable to comply with the above arrangements.  If this is the case, please contact the Association Secretary, Nick Jackson, by email to discuss alternative arrangements.

 

Web articles about allotments in Oxford

Two web articles that may be of interest to members.  Tony Morris has produced a wonderful one on his Morris Oxford website – having talked to Wendy from ODFAA. It has some amusing anecdotes and opens with one referring to our own Association.

Another article forms part of a blog entitled Life in the Floodplain – about Oxford, as the author came to know it in new ways during the lockdown period 2020.

I would encourage you to take a look at both when you have some free time.