Welcome to the Spring to Summer 2019 newsletter. Whether you are an existing or new plot holder this season there will hopefully be items of interest or details worthy of note in this edition. Remember, you can access ongoing information, facts, opinion, news and humour on the allotment facebook page and factual notices on the noticeboard near the gate and see the archive of past newsletters etc here on our Syston allotments website.
Nothing beats good old word of mouth, so make the most of plot holder wisdom, swapping ideas is a good way to start a conversation and make new friends.
I’m sure we are all collectively wishing for a productive season with as much familiar and manageable growing weather as possible in these climate changing times. The extremes of 2018’s meteorological challenges and charms will stay vividly in our minds as we go onward into the new growing year. It is useful to have a community of growers to share tips and experience for coping. Not to be deterred, we gardeners adapt.
If you have been scratching your head and wondering if the Autumn/ Winter edition passed you by, no, you did not blink and miss it, there was no newsletter due to unforeseen health circumstances, my apologies KH.
Soon the mains water will be switched back on, heralding the warmer weather returning. Please as always, continue to predominantly use the Well water whenever possible. Our mains water bill is usually in the region of £300 – £400 and inevitably due to the prolonged dry and intense heat of summer 2018, there was an increased spike in usage and cost to £600. Let’s hope 2019 reverts to usual norms
Remember to have your last allotment bonfires by Sunday 31st March when BST begins. After that, we can have them again when GMT begins again on Sunday 27th Oct.
Many experienced plot holders aim to have their fires around Bonfire night and Diwali which both blend in to the general community activities of Autumn. Particularly on sunny or windy afternoons please be considerate to other plot holders and neighbours, including the tennis courts.
SYSTON TOWN COUNCIL RULES AMENDMENTS
As mentioned in the last newsletter, Syston Town Council (not the allotment committee) administers the allotment rules, some basic rules are part of that duty of care. There were some small amendments made in 2018. Please acquaint yourself with the full details whether you are an existing or new plot holder. Amended rules are printed in this edition (also found online & circulated at subscription time).
3 – Untended plots
12 – Sheds and structures 18 – Livestock
19 – Vacating plots
Please also note 5 – No Parking.
Strictly no parking – Loading and unloading only. New signage.
Please be courteous ~ When unloading / loading please do jobs in the least possible time, as even just 1 parked car creates issues 2-3 cars creates friction and a traffic jam that becomes time consuming and frustrating to all.
It is essential that we all play a part in encouraging other local people (with addresses in the parish of Syston) to join our waiting list and keep the future of the allotments looking healthy. Remember that as well as individuals, groups can also join as long as they have a local addressee who remains responsible overall.
From time to time we encourage new members by way of the local STN magazine, but word of mouth is still a powerful tool even in these days of social media. If everyone could get just one new name added, that would be a very respectable 122 names on the waiting list.
NEW SIGNAGE FOR SYSTON ALLOTMENTS
We have had a committed ‘working party’ of plot holders getting together and designing and making a new sign for our allotments, to celebrate our presence here in Syston for over 100 years on the same 7 acre site. Something our community can be proud of. Thanks to all involved. Look out for it soon.
Need manure? One possible source of the magical stuff in 2019: c/o Adam Nadolski 07 849 414 686. Mention that Paul Windridge has supplied his number.
It might be a good idea to get a few people together in order to get a manure delivery collectively. If other people know of good suppliers, please let us know as muck from one source won’t last forever. Remember the best manure is organic ie that which will not have any traces of herbicides like aminopyralid & antibiotics.
THE CABIN SHOP
The cabin shop is exploring additional ways to sell and perhaps deliver supplies to plots, potentially to be including ‘click and collect’ online methods. Mark Cherry is facilitating this. Keep your eyes peeled for more info as this progresses. The existing shop and methods will continue.
SLUG PELLET BAN COMING INTO LAW IN 2020
REMEMBER the ban on all slug pellets containing the chemical: METALDEHYDE comes into effect by the Spring of 2020 because of the recognised unacceptable risk to mammals and birds. The ban will also stop farmers from creating wide spread pollution of rivers and freshwater with these toxic pellets.
The World Health Organisation classifies metaldehyde as a class II “moderately hazardous” pesticide, while the Pesticide Action Network UK says it is “highly toxic by inhalation, moderately toxic by ingestion and slightly toxic by dermal absorption”.
Defra secretary Michael Gove announced the decision to ban the pesticide following advice from the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
“It is clear that the risks to wildlife are simply too great – and we must all play our part in helping to protect the environment,” Mr Gove said.
All farmers, landowners and increasingly allotment plot holders and gardeners of any sized space, all now collectively play a crucial role in improving declining wildlife numbers already recognised as being in trouble and maintaining species numbers on the brink of threat, or currently stable.
We all share a responsibility to be custodians for nature, our local and wider environment and the general biodiversity of Britain. We can all take ownership to feel empowered to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem, by phasing out chemicals by the end of 2019.It is important to remember there has never been a 100% successful method of slug and snail eradication, chemical or otherwise, only ideas that help minimise.
There are varied organic methods available to try and for die hard chemical users, there are still some other chemical methods still on the market that will be legal to use, though all are to be used with caution as some are harmful to soil life, such as worms and beetles that are important and much needed for balanced soil quality.
‘Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should’ English Proverb
The Garden Organic Catalogue is one supplier of reputable advice on alternative methods:
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds [RSPB] is concerned that slug pellets may be responsible for the decline in Britain’s bird population. www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/gardening- for-wildlife/animal-deterrents/organic-pest-control/non- toxic-slug-control/
Comparisons and details of chemical methods:
If we adopt the thinking that every living thing is useful for something, even if it is as food lower down on the food chain and not for us directly, then we improve our gardening tolerance and ultimately our relaxation.
POISONED WILDLIFE – FOR ADVICE ON WHAT TO DO Please refer to previous editions of this newsletter for advice on helping poisoned hedgehogs at the allotments. Hopefully poisonings will soon be a thing of the past.
Our nearest rescue centre is c/o Pat, at 5 Barkby Road, Queniborough. LE7 3DA. 0116 260 6424. There are others available. It is helpful when taking a sick animal to any rescue centre to also contribute some food.
Sadly, due to the current frequency of inadvertent slug pellet poisonings at Syston allotments, surviving hedgehogs cannot be re released in their familiar territory. Perhaps this will change after the ban… we can hope.
THE KNOLL ORCHARD
Thanks to all who came out to help weed the community orchard in November.
A cold and dry day in Autumn was made warmer by a couple of hours of hard work, a cuppa and some chatty company. These kind of social tasks are for any plot holder to join in with and all are welcome.
JOIN IN ~ REMEMBER you can grow extra plants for the May fundraising PLANT SALE and enter informal competitions for the August OPEN DAY. Anyone can join in with activities, the more the merrier, talk to a committee member.
SYSTON TOWN COUNCIL ALLOTMENT RULES