"In August, away I must...." says the old nursery rhyme. Referring to the migratory cycle of the cuckoo I recall. But it fits Moor Green for two reasons
What happened to the sunshine? Actually it went away in early July but it hasn't put in many appearances in August either. It's been good for the spuds and a welcome relief from the daily watering routine but you can have too much of a good thing. Blight is now appearing here and there on site. Watercourses and drains overflowing. But think positive - no wildfires here...
Where is everybody? These school holidays always mean fewer people about, deals being struck in all the zones for emergency polytunnel watering, courgettes turning into marrows and runner bean plants producing mountains of produce at the exact same time that plotholders slip away for a few days. Raspberries going uneaten (except when people wander onto the site and help themselves - more on that story later). As compensation we do have the Forest School in operation for the holidays, keeping small people entertained and educated. And all those beans can go to the food bank where they will be put to good use. Not marrow-sized courgettes though - Mr Rooney tells me the food bank can't give some of them away because they're too big to carry home...
In the sure and certain knowledge that everyone will be back in September the theme for this months News letter is VOLUNTEERS. AND THAT MEANS YOU (we hope).
Volunteers - The Committee!
To start with you have elected a new powerful, motivated team of megavolunteers called The Committee! Please welcome them in your hearts and plots. Here is a shaky selfie of us all (thanks Louise) meeting outside the Clubhouse last Saturday because we couldn't find a single other person to take a pic. Some members are missing because it's August of course..
See what you're missing every first Saturday of the month - Cake! Seriously though this bunch of apparently sane people all have plots of their own and give up extra time to keep this site as safe, happy and well maintained as they can manage. Respect and thanks to them all.
Volunteers - Security
Security remains our biggest problem. 14 sheds broken into on night last week - came in via the side gate having cut the very sturdy padlock using an angle grinder. Strangers spotted helping themselves to produce last weekend when it's hard to be sure who's on site. Everyone can contribute by doing simple things like locking the gates and challenging anyone unfamiliar seen on site or on a neigbour's plot. But ...taken from a secret location in Cannon Hill Park, this shows a stretch of our boundary fence which volunteers have improved with the help of a gift of Heras fencing
And here's another one blocking off a known break-in point.
The volunteers who did this also removed bins and barrels on our side that made it easier for intruders to climb over as well as enjoying a warm afternoon nattering to each other and exploring the woodland paths of Cannon Hill Park on our doorstep. You could do it if you have a bit of spare time - and you'd be investing in your own security. Volunteer for work parties on the boundary here. No compulsion - we'd just let you know when something's happening and you decide whether you can make it.
Volunteeers -Solar Panels
If you fancy volunteering but don't particularly want to socialise , that's possible too. Take a look at these before and after pics. A month ago there was a trench all the way between the containers and the clubhouse...
Now the trench has been refilled with topsoil at both ends
We know some of the people who've filled in this long horizontal hole - thanks Jon, Carol and Duncan in particular. But others helped too. They simply arrived with a shovel and filled in a section of the trench. Volunteers ! You can do the same if you have the time. There's plenty of trench left - do as much or as little as you can. But please do it before the winter weather puts everyone off or, worse, someone slips and falls into the trench.
Volunteers - Vacant Plots . Come and Help!
One of the jobs we pride ourselves on doing well is inspecting and finding neglected plots, asking the tenant to think about whether they want to carry on with all or part of it , and reletting it to someone on the waiting list, where possible as soon as we can . We're about to try to let another batch of plots before the new rent year (see below) to 40 or so people who want to join us. Some of these plots have not been cultivated for a good while. We try to at least cut back the brambles and bindweed so that the new tenant can see enough of the plot to recognise its potential. Can you help? We're organising a full day to clear as many of these plots as we can on 27th September. We start at 10.30 with a cup of tea and a biscuit in the Clubhouse and run on until 4.00 pm. We'll organise something hot and nourishing at lunchtime for anyone who's there. Minimum commitment 1 hour some time between 10.30 and 4.00 but obviously stay as long as you like - the longer the better! Just click on the email link below telling us when you will be available and we'll get back to you quickly.
Volunteers - Clubhouse Bar
Here it is - all clean and tidy - after a sunny weekend and a big wedding reception.
How did it get this clean and tidy? We've spent a few bob on new wiring and a ceiling but it's still not a self-cleaning clubhouse. The beer doesn't get served automatically either. If you can help by giving an hour or two, especially in the summer months that would be great . Just click on the email link below and we'll be in touch to talk further.
Coming Soon - Big Night at the Clubhouse - 16th September
VOLUNTEERS REQUIRED! This is a great soul band. And they're local. And it's a free gig. Band starts at eight. Bar open till late. We need volunteers to sit and listen, dance, buy drinks and go home quietly . Easiest bit of volunteering in the whole Newsletter.
Get the date in your diary and then come along and have a great night!
Coming Even Sooner - Moor Green Produce Show! Sunday 10th September
This is the big annual event for showing off what a good gardener you are. The marquee will be open from 8.00am to 12.00 noon on the Sunday morning: then closed to allow for judging and assessment of entries. After judging it will be opened for general viewing and admiration.
Exhibitors may remove exhibits after (time)
As in recent years plotholders may enter on a ‘class’ or a ‘display’ basis.
Class entries are judged according to RHS guidance. Basically quality and uniformity of a specified number of the class type. Leaflets listing classes will be posted in the clubhouse and on notice boards next week.
Displays are made up of a mixed collection of produce off a plot arranged for effect, and may include made produce (jam, cake, spirit etc ) and may also include artwork. Will be assessed on variety of produce, general quality and overall affect on the judges.
Note - judges decisions are above criticism!
Exhibitors may be:
Pairs ie any 2 adults jointly working a plot
Family ie 1or2 adults plus one or more children working a plot
Group ie 3 or more adults, may include children. Not restricted to single plot.
Please make the judges job difficult, both with quality and numbers of exhibitors.
VOLUNTEERS WANTED! As regulars know,
the Produce Show takes place in a tent
The tent has to be put up in order to accommodate the exhibits
The tent will be put up on Friday 7th September at 11.00 ish. Takes about an hour. We need about a dozen people. When the work is done we all retire to the bar for a complimentary drink. Can you help? Click on the button below and let us know.
Coming Sooner than you might wish - Rent Collection
first three weekends in October i.e. 7th/8th, 14th/15th. 21st/22nd. 1.00pm to 3.00 pm. We'll post the new rent charges in September as soon as we get them. Payment by card or cheque if possible - the treasurer and secretary (VOLUNTEERS!) don't like traipsing up the hill to a bank in Kings Heath with a bag of money....
Birmingham Allotments Research Study
Are you a plotholder? Are you willing to give up maximum half an hour of your time to help us prove that allotments make a big contribution to this city?
We all understand the benefits of allotments. They produce food, reducing the need for sourcing produce from further afield or overseas. Some of the food goes directly or indirectly to the poorest people in Birmingham. They improve wellbeing, both physical and mental, thus probably saving money in terms of NHS and caring services costs. And they sustain the environment – these are green and biodiverse spaces. So why doesn’t Birmingham City Council give us more priority? Partly because we don’t have the evidence to prove those benefits. BDAC with help from Birmingham University is putting together a research project to examine and quantify the benefits of the allotments to the city’s residents and to Birmingham City Council (BCC) as the landlord. Benefits defined in terms of
a. Food production
b. Environment – biodiversity
c. Mental and physical well-being.
A key element of the research will be a questionnaire to individual plotholders covering those three areas. This will be posted on the BDAC website (https://bdacallotments.co.uk/) shortly with an invitation to you to complete and return the questionnaire . It should take no more than ten minutes but does ask you to give a a rough but educated estimate as to how much food you produce annually by weight divided into
And that might take a bit of thinking time. If you’re willing to complete such a questionnaire please VOLUNTEER! We're aiming to get 1000 responses across the city as a whole so that we have a really credible and compelling story to tell. If you want more detail contact the secretary at email@example.com
That's all for now folks. Hope you've clicked at least one button. Happy plotting!