Happy February readers! I detect signs of spring in Moor Green - see those daffs in the pic? Trailer loads of compost arriving, snowdrops poking out here and there. People standing on their sodden plots looking around and having a think. Lots of cardboard everywhere as the winds of the last two weeks redistribute all the hard work of the "no-dig" brigade. Mud in the clubhouse. Speaking of which...
It's leaking. This isn't exactly news but this time it's the new temporary fix roof that was installed in late December. Unsurprisingly the wind and rain of the last two weeks has found a way through a double sheet of plastic and we're fire-fighting - well, water fighting to be more precise - again. And Storm Eunice is on the way as I write. The Council contractors have been and done some more magic with flashband but at best this is a temporary fix on a temporary fix. We have contacted the Council to urge them to address the long term issue i.e. the need to replace the roof. Any pressure on them would be helpful so if you could find the time to email them yourself that would be hugely appreciated. Just cut and paste the note further down in the Newsletter and email to your Councillor - names and addresses supplied. Do it now - crowd lobbying in action!
Raising the Roof
The best practical thing we can do right now is to raise money ourselves to contribute the proper repair job. The bottom line is that a new roof will cost thousands (views differ as to how many) and it’s very unlikely that a hard-up Council is going to make this a priority. Our real fear is that the Council will say repair costs are prohibitive so we will close the building. We would fight that vigorously but there is no point in saying this is a City Council problem alone – it’s mainly a problem for our plot holders and social members who actually rely on the bar, teamaking, social hub and having a nice sit-down after a day’s digging that this facility provides. We will be having our first “Raising the Roof” fund raising event on the afternoon and evening of 26th March. There will be a swing band in the afternoon with tea and cakes for sale, a rock band in the evening and also some live music in between.The bar will be open from early afternoon , hot food will be served in the evening and we hope to have sorted arrangements to collect donations on the day.
Also on sale will be limited copies of a beautiful print of our site - produced by Sarah Moss.
She took a few photos of the allotments back in December, looking up towards Holders Lane Woods, with her back to the clubhouse. The image is a composite of a few different views, carved onto lino and printed at Birmingham Printmakers studio in Highgate on high quality Fabriano Rosaspina 250gm paper (no, me neither). Price £30 a copy which reflects both the quality of the print and the work involved - all proceeds to the Raise the Roof fund. Grab this bargain while stocks last!
Please come along on the 26th, enjoy the entertainment, look at the artwork, buy our competitively priced food and drinks and get to know us better.
Get to Know Us Better
Speaking of which your committee, a tireless group of fifteen heroic volunteers including me (impartial editorial comment) meets once a month to try to keep tabs on the management of the site. Our main tasks lately have been dealing with the clubhouse roof but we're also organising plot lettings, doing the various maintenance jobs that a site surrounded by trees and crossed by streams creates, finding out what to do about Avian Flu, managing volunteer rosters, jousting with the City Council on various issues. We're doing all this on your behalf so if you think there's anything we could do better - or additionally - we'd be pleased to hear from you. You can of course come to our committee meeting and get to know us better - next one is Saturday 5th March at 10.30. If for some unaccountable reason, you'd rather do anything than go to a committee meeting you can always raise items and we'll put them on our agenda. Either
1. write to the secretary on email@example.com or
2. use the "Speak to the committee" button on this website. It's bottom left on every page. We'll get back to you as soon as we can.
You Can Make History!
This is an exciting new project by General Public exploring the heritage of allotments in Birmingham from the1960s to the present day. They want you, esteemed plotholder, to be part of it. You can be interviewed and have your stories recorded or suggest someone to be interviewed. They are particularly interested in:
•Women: stories that map the changing role of women on
•Wellbeing: people who feel that growing has had a positive
effect on their health and mental wellbeing.
•Diversity: people from a wide range of racial and social
backgrounds whose stories are under-represented.
•Older people: allotment holders aged 65+ who have had their
plots for a long time (and have a tale to tell).
We also want your old pics. Do you have any photos you have taken of your allotment plot
over the years? Rather than photos showing your wonderful crops, we are
particularly interested in photos that show the social/cultural side of allotment life. Some of these photos will go into a big exhibition at the Library of Birmingham in 2023. Just get in touch with Chris if you are interested in being included in the project!
Call/Text: Chris - 07792736125
New Faces - Gemma Joins the Committee
Sadly we have to report that Will Freeman, our excellent volunteer pavilion manager is standing down both from the manager and the committee. Big thanks for all your work Will and we wish you well for the future. Mark Wright - who some of you will know is a committee member who has long experierence of managing the clubhouse - has agreed to take the manager job on until a replacement can be found, supported by Gemma Deeks - who many of you will have bought a drink from in the past few months - who we have coopted onto the committee. Welcome and thanks Gemma!
Master Classes 2022
They're back! After a big Covid pause, Oz our resident horticulturalist is back. Do come along and learn while meeting your fellow plotters. There will be tea/coffee and biscuits. Details below from Oz.
" Meetings are proposed in the clubhouse for the 2nd Saturday of each month commencing 12 th March. Doors open 10.15 for informal conversation with coffee or tea. The presentation of main topic will usually start around 10.30. The indoor part of the session is typically the laying out of the principles and science underlying the practicalities. Sharing of experience and questioning the presenter is encouraged. Most months demonstration of practice and seeing worked examples are the most valued part of the session. These will take place on the demonstration plot or through guided walks about the site. Some topics will include a hand out sheet. Questions raised that cannot be answered immediately may be followed up on one-to-one
basis or addressed at subsequent meetings. Sessions end between 12.00 & 12.30
Outline Program 2022
March 12 th . Soil basics and how to make it work for you. Soil organic matter. Soil pH
(acidity) and how it affects different plants. Making it right for the plants you want to grow.
Dynamic effects of sun, wind and rain. Practice of seed bed preparation. Planting of bare
root and potted trees/shrubs. If desired talk through and demonstration of fruit tree pruning.
April. Soil temperature and seed germination. Techniques to boost soil temperature. Stale
seedbed. Seed sowing indoors/outdoors: pros and cons. Plant spacing, intercropping etc.
May . Fruit trees, including Currants, Raspberries & Strawberries. Factors affecting fruit set.
Pests and diseases. Crop protection and propagation. Anticipating weeds and the ‘ wrong ‘
June & July.- seasonal stuff! I expect these sessions to be dominated by seasonal questions arising from the particularities of the weather. In the July session we will talk about the Produce Show.
August. No Meeting. Historically many people away. I will be available for one-to-one
September - Harvesting and second sowing
October. Last session of the year. How did your year go? Putting the plot to bed and soil
management. Overwintering crops and what shall we grow next year.
Here's the text of an email to your local councillor. Just cut and paste into an email please - it will only take a minute,honest. Obviously you can amend or replace as you think fit.
I/am writing to you as a plotholder/social member at Moor Green Allotments. I am very concerned that no serious progress is being made on the replacement of the pavilion roof which was sadly lost during Storm Arwen in late November. The clubhouse is a vital resource for me and many other members of our community and clearly the greater the delay in replacing it the greater the risk of both higher costs and long term threat to the viability of the building. I urge you to do what you can to move things forward quickly and would be grateful if you could take this issue up on my behalf with Councillor O'Shea who is, I understand, the Cabinet member responsible. Please keep me posted on any response. Many thanks [Name]
Kerry Jenkins : firstname.lastname@example.org
Martin Straker-Welds: email@example.com
Bournbrook and Selly Park Councillors
Brigid Jones: firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen McCarthy: email@example.com
Early early early notice
Don't say we didn't give you a chance to comment. The Big Johns Birmingham Mela is a well known and established event celebrating arts and culture in an outdoor community setting. The event will bring together the public from the South Asian community and more, celebrate arts and culture through music, dance, art, comedy and offer a variety of stalls and food to promote this annual family event.
The event takes place at Cannon Hill Park (which is why we're letting you know) from midday 23rd July to 1a.m. the following morning. If you have any views, positive or otherwise please let the Council know before 28th Feb on ParksEvents@birmingham.gov.uk