Moor Green Matters,
Dear Plot holder
Welcome to Moor Green Matters
January maybe the darkest month of winter but the good news is that, although the soil is really still quite cold, the days are already getting longer. Snowdrops, hellebores and aconites are pushing their way up through the ground, while garlic and winter onions, planted in the late autumn, are really growing well. The festive season may have come and gone, but there is always something to keep us busy down on the plot, so look out for helpful articles in the books and magazines, located by the kitchen in the Gardener’s Clubhouse. Learn more about what to do through to March. Better still make yourself a warm drink, chat to one of our more experienced gardeners and determine your 2019 gardening resolutions! Before we put 2018 to bed huge thanks to all those of you who paid your rent on time - it was very gratifying to chat with so many plot holders, to learn of your horticultural successes and to discuss your aspirations for the forth coming year. Thanks also to the team of rent collectors who shared the task over the six week rent period, making the whole process run as smoothly as possible. Read on to find out more about plans for the site in the forth coming months, including the launch of the borehole in March, what the Seed Store can offer this season and just some of the upcoming events. Finally thanks for your good wishes for a speedy recovery in mid-December: QEHB was not on my ‘to do’ list, but after a month off from the allotment it’s ‘hopefully’ business as usual
Association Committee news, featuring your priorities
Your Association Committee continues to meet on the last Saturday of each month to ensure that the site is well managed and that the needs of members are met as far as possible. Any member is welcome to observe committee meetings or to notify us of any matters they would like us to address. Whilst our attention will inevitably be focussed on gardening matters we listened to what you told us during rent collection and have set priorities based on what you said. These include: clearing the litter that has accumulated on site, working with the City Council contractors and our own volunteers to clear the blocked drains, enhancing site security and creating a better solution to distribute leaves, grass and wood chip (when we can get it!) across the site.
Zone representatives now in every zone
Paul Rooney and I continue to work with up to 20 volunteer plot holders to manage each zone and we hope you will continue to support your zone representatives in ensuring your area is as well maintained as possible. This includes clearing rubbish that may have blown around your zone during a very gusty December, keeping paths between plots free from over grown foliage and keeping the verges tidy.
Inevitably there have been some changes to zone representatives, so here they are set out again:
Zone A Steve Peters (52),
Zone B Malcolm Caston (77) Alan Doyle (83)
Zone C Carol Moore (92)
Zone D Paul Rooney (14)
Zone E Robert ‘Oz’ Osborn (104) Jane Edwards (107)
Zone F Jonathan Birkett (111) Maxine Smith (127)
Zone G Duncan James (133) Ann Kennefick (142)
Zone H Steve Gwynne (153) Clifton Hepburn (167/8) George Morris (173)
Zone J John Fox (230) Jenny Jupe (187)
Zone K Winston Haughton (212)
If anyone can help to fill the gaps in zones A, C, D and K do please have a word with or text me or Paul! All these plot holders are often on site, so do make sure you introduce yourself and, most importantly offer to support them - like your Committee they are all volunteers working to ensure our site is the best it can be.
Some general site matters.....including the club house, borehole and site clearance
We now have an accessible toilet in a separate cubicle in the Clubhouse thanks largely to the voluntary effort of Richard Ardern, plot 54N. This unisex toilet not only provides easier access, but also baby change facilities, although we do ask that soiled nappies are taken away! Opening the Clubhouse during the week has proved very popular with a number of plot holders and we will continue this practice as much as possible, so do use the space if the weather turns inclement or you just want a break and a cuppa! The Clubhouse is looking splendid with a different grouping of tables, better drapes over the windows and lively bunting to brighten the space. Did you know that Roopa Singh, plot 24, cleans the clubhouse every Thursday on an entirely voluntary basis? So when you drop in do ensure you make her job as pleasant as possible by keeping the space clean the rest of the week.
The most exciting news this year will be the official launch of the borehole in March, to coincide with turning the water on around the time when the clocks change. What an amazing community effort this project has been, with so many members helping to raise the necessary funds and provide expertise. Our thanks are really due, however, to Jon Hiller, whose seemingly left field idea has come to fruition: Jon has managed the project from the outset, that’s not to denying the enormous amount of help, advice and support from too many to mention here, but like all successful projects, it has needed a driving force and that has certainly been Jon. We are still monitoring water usage (the house at No11 and the Clubhouse), but our water bills should reduce considerably. Please report any leaks to Paul Rooney or myself so that repairs can be effected immediately. Even Waterplus have woken up to my myriad of correspondence and finally credited the £1.5k paid in April last year. I continue to battle over VAT exemption on the final bills!
We plan to order three or four skips within the next month to clear several areas of the site - volunteers needed please to help fill the skips. The plan is to put one up in zone K, one near the beehive copse, Zone H and one near the borehole to remove the accumulated rubbish. If you think a skip is needed elsewhere do let Paul or I know. The skips are for site rubbish ONLY, no green waste and no waste from home please. Remember March is the next month for burning green waste on your plot.
So pleased to report great compliance with keeping the gates locked - this does mean all the gates, not just the Holders Lane gate. Concern about the gate leading to Cannon Hill woods, between plots 97 and 98, being left unlocked and leading to tool theft have been voiced. Paul has freed up the lock, so we’re hoping this fixes any issue. However, all the padlocks are old so do treat them with respect. If you think your 99 key is not working well bring it along to the Clubhouse when Deborah James or I are around and get a replacement (mainly at weekends). Otherwise all good, so do continue to lock the gates at all times, the exception being the Holders Lane gate left open Saturday and Sunday after midday. Security is paramount. We await news from a bid made to the WM Police Active Citizens Fund to enhance security.
Community Rehab have all but disappeared, but I’m on the case! With the Home Office thoughts about doing away with six month custodial sentences that could mean a greater pool of offenders in need of rehab, but that is a way off yet!
The Association owns two brush cutters and a rotovator, the latter is available to hire in the spring, when the soil is less heavy. Brush cutters can only be used by those with the correct health and safety certification, of which we have eight plot holders trained with an up to date qualification. Jack Belcher, plot 57N, manages the hire and sorts someone from the group of eight to brush cut plots. Please contact Jack in the first instance on 07547 233481. We are also in the process of acquiring a grass cutter for small areas such as grassy paths, etc.
Moor Green Seed Store where Peter and Mick are gearing up for the Spring
The Seed Store is opened by request ONLY during the winter months. Please call into the Clubhouse and ask for Mick Docker or Peter Jupe
During the winter season we are stocking….
Broad beans - plant them now for an early crop
Blue barrels @ just £8.50
Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) by pre-order, price available on request, depending on size
Compost & Horse manure (mix ‘n’ match) @ £12.00 for three bags. Individual prices vary.
Goundtex heavy duty woven ground cover fabric, lined to assist cutting. Ideal for covering prepared ground, raised beds and as a base for paths. Suppresses weeds, but allows water and nutrients to drain through. (see attachments from Ranger Dean’s Master Class last month on preparing your plot for Autumn). Re-usable each season, just cut to required size.
5m wide @ £2.80 per m
1m wide @ £.80 per m
Prices competitive with Amazon and eBay, high street prices c£1.50 sq m. Once again the Seed Store can save you money, postage and hassle - good scissors required!
1.00 - 2.00 Saturdays and Sundays during the Winter.
Seed potatoes are expected in February.
We will let you know when they are available
Social membership… subs now due
All Moor Green tenants and their partners are automatically members of the Association, but we also have membership available to non-tenants, i.e. Social Membership. Deborah James, plot 133, manages social membership, although for data protection I keep an electronic list of current members. At £5.00 per adult per year this represents excellent value and adds to the community spirit that makes Moor Green allotments so vibrant. Rumour has it that Mark stocks some of the best craft beer in Moseley and certainly at competitive prices.
Along with devolved management the Council have tightened up on the procedures for Clubhouse hire - all hirers must be members to comply with our licensing agreement. Event booking forms, together with Risk Assessments, do have to be with allotment officers at least four weeks in advance for permission to hold events and check insurance details. This means we need them well before the event to get the paperwork to Bernie Wilson, our new allotment officer. Text Mark Wright, Bar Manager, on 07542923424, or have a word with one of the bar staff to check availability. A reminder that bar opening hours have changed for the winter season and are as follows:
Friday 6.00 pm until 11.00 pm or earlier if quiet
Saturday 12.30 until 11.00 pm
Sunday 1.00 until 7.00 pm or earlier if quiet
We have a brilliant team of bar staff, all volunteers who, between them keep the bar open for members to enjoy. However, we could do with a few more people to join the rota to reduce the all round commitment between the team, so do come forward, speak to Mark Wright or any of the other members serving behind the bar.
There are currently over 300,000 allotment plots in the UK, with roughly 100,000 people on waiting lists. Allotments are as popular as ever but remain under threat as Councils struggle to effectively manage their budgets and the demand for housing grows. All the more reason for us to keep our site full and in tip-top condition. We’re pleased to report that the site is completely full and that the waiting list is closed for the time being. There are, however, some plots available at other local sites.
Finally the best way to keep up to date with site matters is via the closed FaceBook forum, MaDAHAL, although we (I) plan to develop text groups by zone or membership type for immediate alerts, such as crime or anti-social reports. We hope this will be particularly useful for those who do not have internet accounts.
Jenny Jupe, Site Manager and Paul Rooney, Assistant Site Manager