Problems finding seeds this Spring – Thoughts of a Virtual Seed Swap
We have heard from several members that they have had difficulty in obtaining vegetable seeds this season – with many firms quoting long lead times for delivery or even suspending trading (e.g. our own link with Kings Seeds).
I wondered whether those of us with more seeds than we need could find a way to share with those who missed out? Would members be interested in this if we were to set up a blog on our website where people could offer or request? Obviously we can’t organise a traditional seed swap due to social distancing, but two individuals could negotiate a swap or exchange and find a way of safely handing the seeds over …
Would this be useful to members? Please let us know what you think using the Secretary’s email.
As a Committee we thought we would like to thank all of our members for their cooperation under these difficult circumstances. Reports suggest that Twenty Pound Meadow is quietly busy with folks all keeping carefully apart. Children are staying close to parents. It has been a glorious week, weather-wise, and people are quietly keeping track of each other. It’s starting to look really good.
Botley Meadow was looking wonderful yesterday with many members on site – all studiously observing the two-metre rule but engaging nonetheless.
Having just read through the Government advice on the lockdown criteria we believe that both our sites can remain open to provide members with the opportunity for exercise. However, the following would seem to be the conditions under which we will operate:
No congregations greater than two people (from the same household)
Do not get any closer to anyone else than 2 metres (6 feet) under any circumstances
Coffee mornings are off for the moment – classed as a communal activity and therefore not permitted
The shop may be allowed to continue opening on Sunday mornings but we will need to give more thought to queue control, access to stock and payment methods
Please observe these conditions. The most recent news posts confirm that the Police will be checking to make sure that the public are observing them and if they suspect that they are not then we could be compelled to close the sites – just when all of us are gearing up for the growing season!
Be considerate – the introduced measures are there not just to protect you but also those you hold dearest; friends and family.
Emails: we propose not to deluge you with email updates (it takes the Secretary seven separate emails to get a message out) but will instead be using this website as a primary way of communicating with members. Please – if you haven’t already done it, can you bookmark this page and check back regularly for updates. Do also let other members know the website exists (but from 2 metres distance!)
Your Committee have considered the Government advice concerning the evolving situation with the COVID 19 coronavirus outbreak and have reluctantly agreed that we need to postpone the AGM for this year.
We were due to hold it on Thursday 30th April at the West Oxford Community Centre but as current projections for ‘social distancing’ measures are being framed in terms of weeks or even months we cannot see how holding the AGM would be feasible or advisable. We will review the situation over the summer with a view to holding the AGM later in the year.
The current Committee will remain the same, with the exception of Treasurer – Sheila was already intending to step down in April and Phil Sampson from Botley Meadow was prepared to stand to replace her.
The Committee going forward will therefore comprise Nick Jackson as Association Secretary, Phil Sampson as Treasurer (to be ratified at the AGM, when held), and the following Committee members:
Anne James (TPM & Committee Chair), Jude Carroll (TPM), Cathy Feenan (TPM), Sue Spencer-Longhurst (TPM), Verity Wilson (TPM), Paul Robinson (TPM) and Pól Ó Ceallaigh (BM)
As of today (Friday 20th March) we do not believe that the Government intends to restrict members of the public from accessing outside spaces – including allotments. We encourage all of our members to respect the ‘social distancing’ advice from the Chief Medical Officer – i.e. to keep your distance from others (two metres) where practical and treat any publicly accessible surfaces as potential sources of infection.
A few members have asked about the possibility of the COVID 19 virus being transmitted via the padlocks on the TPM gates. Estimates vary regarding how long the virus can survive outside of the human body but it is likely to be in the order of hours. The padlocks and gates should be treated with the same degree of caution as any other public surface (e.g. the adjacent pedestrian crossing button). Members may want to consider using gloves when handling the padlock (opening it using a clear plastic bag as a glove also works).
Cllr Colin Cooke has donated some hand sanitising gel for use by the Twenty Pound Meadow gates. The Committee is also looking into how feasible it would be to provide soap and water adjacent to the gate for hand-sanitising purposes. If they do, we suggest members bring their own small hand towel for their individual use.
We are reviewing arrangements regarding if and how the shop may operate for the duration of the outbreak.
These may include: opening for shorter hours, limiting the numbers being served and asking people to distance themselves inside the shop, conducting transactions outside, and/or take orders and prepare goods for people to collect. We may need to limit transactions to contactless if advice develops that cash/notes are an increasing route of infection.
Regardless of the above, the shop is looking for volunteers to help out – having lost both Maura and Janet recently. Please contact Felicity at firstname.lastname@example.org if you feel you can volunteer.
Allotment Coffee Mornings
The Twenty Pound Meadow group is still considering whether to start holding these again, now that the weather is improving. Please keep checking back here to see if and when these may start up again.
Previously, Allotment coffee mornings were held on the last Sunday of the month, 10:30am – 12:00pm from April to September. If you haven’t been before we have lovely homemade cakes, biscuits and buns plus good ground coffee and juice for children.
If you fancy showing off your Bake-Off skills by providing the occasional cake please contact Elizabeth Newbery on 07816 268145 email@example.com.
If you able to help out on just one coffee morning (all milk, coffee and juice supplied) we would be very, very grateful.
The profit from the sales go towards boosting the allotment funds.
The security fencing on the northern boundary of TPM is nearly complete. We needed to do this after several incidents of people coming through from Tumbling Bay, and after several years of patching and watching for holes appear in the old fencing.
Jude and Gus have done some sterling work coordinating volunteers erecting the new fencing over many months. We had hoped to be finished by now but flooding has set us back a little. In addition, we are planting a mixed hawthorn and small-tree hedge in front of the fence to soften the look and improve security.
We couldn’t have done this without the generous financial support from Councillors Colin Cook and Susanna Pressel – both of whom provided funds from their Ward Member budgets to support us in safeguarding the integrity of the site.
Many thanks to Gus and Jude for leading on this and to all those volunteers who gave their time and energy to assist, and also to the Oxfordshire Community Payback Team who helped us.
With a month to go before the Spring Equinox on the Celtic calendar and with so much flood water covering much of the allotment site over the last few months, my attention has been taken to the edges. Edges or margins are often the places on allotments, in gardens or societies that are less ‘managed’, wilder, and are often interesting diverse, and creative places.
Edges are places of transition, portals to something else… For example from land to water; riverbanks, sea-shores, streams or lakes, or where grassland changes to woodland. On our allotments the scale is much smaller and the principle is the same. The boundary of the allotment site as a whole borders river, stream, grassland with trees, and road-pavement. Our individual plots have edges with neighbouring plots, paths, river, pavement etc.