Updated: Jun 13
Well it is, isnt it? Flaming that is. I've never known it so flaming - not since er...last June. This here global warming has some odd side effects though. Like for example the last three weeks - total drought accompanied by lengthy spells of cloud and chilly mornings. Then last weekend's swelterbox. The news this month is also mixed, some good some really bad. We'll start with the good stuff to encourage you to read on
What to do when you're not weeding, watering and planting
June - and plant life - is busting out all over - so the theme this month is NETTING. The more the plants bust out the more they must be protected from evil insect, bird, rodent and brockish attack. My next door plotholders net everything except spuds and rhubarb. At this time of year it's important to keep moving while visiting their plot.
And they're not alone. Let's start with the statement netters. This one is more of an art installation than a plant protection device. Mind you I can imagine the pigeons and magpies just seeing all that orange and deciding to shop elsewhere...
At the other extreme there is the netting austerity model. Last year's netting supported by some old random sticks. Bet it still works though...
Then there's the netting that gives away the plotholders close relationship with a quality timber supplier.
Then there's the ambitious amateur "who needs a tape measure/drill/spirit level?" type of structure - see below. If I were ever to be the subject of Grand Designs this is the house Kevin would be looking at when he comes back after the first six months.
And if you want to net whole trees or bushes effectively you just have to accept it's going to look weird
But you could go two-tone to add to the effect...
And no gallery of Moor Green netting would be complete without the blue piping model
Finally from my own plot the Fort Knox carrot growing model. Impregnable to carrot fly, pigeons, magpies,badgers and muntjac. But possibly a bit over the top...
It's always nice to have new people to the site. Full of hope and energy, at the dawn of their disasters, hacking away at the brambles and bindweed. A very warm welcome to Glyn and Lorna, Andrew and Sarah, Susan Dillane, Jane Vaughan, Naomi (Forest School) Whiteside, Matthew Brockington, Berlind Fellermeyer, Andreas Karwath, Philip Glenholmes and Courtenay Campbell. Grow and prosper!
You have to get along to this. It's going to be great. We're looking for stall holders for the event so if you know of anyone who runs a quirky /handmade / something that would appeal to plotholders/ type business then do get them to email us at Madahal.Stalls@gmail.com and we can forward more information. Also feel free to share this event with all your other WhatsApp, Facebook and other (actual knowledge running out here) social media groups.
Good News on the Clubhouse
We're getting a ceiling! Yes, of course we already have one, but it's full of holes and unlikely to last much longer after all the water it absorbed before the roof went back on. And Artex is no longer a fashionable look. And the lights don't work. And the gas pipes are the same vintage as the artex. So we've appointed a builder to replace the ceiling and fix the lights and central heating at the same time. He starts week commencing 19th June, so expect some disruption for a few weeks but we will have lights and power at the weekends so shouldn't lose the bar service or the Shindig. Even if we're losing a ceiling...
Less Good News
Really bad news in fact. We've had break-ins and intruders before but recent developments are particularly worrying. First we had some fire damage to a shed and polytunnel in Zone A down by the Cannon Hill Park entrance. Then we had this total destruction of a shed in the same area in late April. Totally heartbreaking for Hamid and his family.
Looks to us very much like arson rather than somebody accidentally starting a fire while maybe dossing in the shed.
Then last week (6th June) at the opposite end of the site, on the boundary with Holders Lane playing fields we had another and equally heartbreaking case of arson. The before and after pics give you an idea of what Dan and Emma have lost.
The beautiful shed and various bits and pieces around it (including water barrels) were burnt to the ground. Very hard to take for both of them. We've reported both to the police of course and the Council. After the last incident the committee discussed what to do and agreed
a. Purchase of additional wildlife cameras for the affected plotholder and for use at high risk locations. Zone reps would take responsibility for checking camera memory card or connecting the camera to their smartphones
b. Longer term – new Lottery Fund bid for additional fencing/gate guards etc
c. Seeking advice from the National Society on possible insurance cover for sheds
At the Committee meeting last Saturday we also discussed...
It's likely that any realistic solutions will be down to us as a community rather than an understaffed police or a skint Council. We will be discussing this though with local councillors at our regular meeting with them on 28th June. And definitely at the AGM.
Annual General meeting - for your Diary 1st July 10.30 a.m.
This is your chance to really join in. The AGM is the one opportunity for you to be a part of the decision making process of the Association. At the meeting you always get
a review by the Chairman of the work this year, highlights and low moments
a report from the Treasurer on the externally examined annual accounts of the Association
similar but less formal reports from the Site Manager, Pavilion Manager and Seedstore Manager . Luckily for you the site manager this year is also the chair so that's one report saved
approval of the membership of the Association Committee . We need at least fifteen volunteers so why not give ot a try? It's only 2 hours a month on a Saturday morning. We do - full disclosure - try to rope you into other things, including joining the exec if you have the right cocktail of free time, Solomon-like wisdom and even more free time, but anything above the basic membership is absolutely voluntary. Check the noticeboard in the Clubhouse and on the main noticeboard outside the Clubhouse to get your nomination in. Deadline is 26th June!
This year you will also have a chance to join the big debate on two important issues
site security - see above
changes to Allotment Rules - BDAC has redrafted the allotment rules to bring them into the 21st century and maybe make them easier to enforce. You have the opportunity to comment on/amend the draft before it goes back to the Council for agreement
All nominated and approved members have voting rights at the Annual General Meeting, with the Chair having the casting vote if required. No members shall have more than one vote, irrespective of the number of plots tenanted.
You have to be a current plotholder or social member to participate. If you're not sure whether your eligible just contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Facebook Group page is heaving with ideas as to how to improve site security after the shed disasters in the last few weeks. If everyone who made them turned up at the AGM 1ST JULY 10.30 at the Clubhouse (in case you've already forgotten) we would not only have a better turnout than last year but also a golden opportunity for plotholders to contribute to deciding what to do about it. And it would greatly help any Lottery Fund bid to be able to show we had consulted widely.
And there's tea and biscuits.
MasterClass - Saturday 17 th June
Oz is back! This month’s session will focus on Pests & Diseases. We will start at the
teaching plot at 10.15 and have a site walk. This can include specific visits to holders
plots. We will probably talk about summer pruning, weeds and composting as
we go round. And watering which is on everyone's mind this month,despite the welcome thunderstorms....
If the committee attempted to enforce every item in the Allotment Rules we would all die in the attempt - have you all painted your shed green for example? But we do attempt to enforce this rule from the Management Handbook
"Hosepipes are only permitted to fill water containers and may not be used to water crops directly from a standpipe as this results in considerable wastage. Tenants who break the Rule will be warned and any repetition will result in eviction".
We have the immense privilege of a borehole which gives us our own water supply, but it's not an inexhaustible resource. And watering crops directly with a hosepipe wastes this resource. So please stick to this rule and politely point it out to any neighbour who doesn't seem aware. And give a little thought to when you will fill your water containers . If you do it at the weekend - unless it's early morning or late evening - you're likely to be holding up some one else with an empty watering can. Here are the site-specific rules we agreed as a committee in 2020 (with thanks to Paul Rooney for drafting)
All plots should have at least one means of harvesting rainwater
Hoses are not allowed except where required to fill water butts. In filling a container tenants must have consideration for others who wish to use water
Plot holders can fill up to 4 water barrels on their plot from the standpipe(s) once a month
Barrels can only be filled by a hosepipe attached to the tap on weekdays or before 10 am or after 8pm on weekends and bank holidays
Larger water containers can only be used for water harvesting, and must not be filled via hosepipes
Thanks in advance for your cooperation!
Finally - Please Do Us an Enormous Favour
Go to the website by clicking on the link below. Go to the bottom of the front page, fill in your name and email address and click subscribe. It's complicated but basically it saves us money. Thanks plotters!