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Moor Green in April

Updated: Apr 18


1         Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote


                   When April with its sweet-smelling showers


 2         The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,


                  Has pierced the drought of March to the root,


 3         And bathed every veyne in swich licour


                  And bathed every vein (of the plants) in such liquid


 4         Of which vertu engendred is the flour;


                  By which power the flower is created;


There you go - The opening lines of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales from 1387 translated into modern English and reminding you that some things never change. Sometimes an April day will suddenly bring showers/Rain to grow the flowers for her first bouquet (Pat Boone this time - you need to be 70+ to remember his cringe-making hit "April Love").


The problem is that these ain't showers, they're torrents. And "the drought of March" must have missed Moor Green. We're planting our spuds in mud. But it's good to see that this doesn't stop our determined bunch of plotters. In this edition we're celebrating our new plotholders, many of whom have just taken on a tenancy and are licking their plots into shape regardless of the weather. Look at this work in progress on a plot that was waist high in brambles and rubbish at Christmas.


And this one - complete with new raised beds, compost bin and plant protection!



And as for this one - here's a two before and two after set of pics to show you what a difference two months hard work on one plot does.

Here's before....







And now after!



Thanks so much to Stuart, Jane, Anthony, Leanne and partner for all this sterling work - and all the other new plotholders who are getting stuck in. It encourages us all to get the best out of our plot - however much the weather may be against us.

New Plotholders and Waiting List

Thanks to the hard work of the Lettings Manager, we've been getting quite alot of new tenants on site and gradually working down our long waiting list. We've done so well on this that we're virtually at 100% occupancy which is great news. Do say hello to any new neighbours and make them feel at home. We're thinking of giving a simple set of guidelines to anyone taking on a plot at Moor Green and would welcome any feedback on this draft before we launch an official version at the AGM. What do you think of this set ot bullet points? Any comments please to madahal.waitinglist@gmail.com

Draft Guidelines for New Plotholders 2024

 

  1. Always lock the gate except at weekends or if there is a sign up.

  2. Respect other plot holders and the communal areas.

  3. Cultivate your plot. Use it or lose it!

  4. Keep dogs on leads at all times.

  5. Pay your rent on time.

  6. Only have bonfires in November.

  7. Don't sublet or give your plot to someone else.

  8. Harvest rainwater and use the taps responsibly. No car washing.

  9. Plot holders are responsible for the safety and conduct of any visitors they bring onto the site and children must be supervised.

  10. If there's a problem be part of the solution! Whether it's a problem with your neighbours, or security or pests,it's better and quicker to try to sort if out yourself if you can

  11. Support your allotment by using the Clubhouse, Seedstore and coming to the seasonal events and produce show. Volunteer a few hours of your time if you can.

Summer Fayre - Date for your Diary

This edition of the Newsletter is determined to look forward to long days, sunny skies, growing produce and the odd day off to enjoy the privilege of being part of this fabulous site. Hence an early notice of our regular Summer Fayre (spelling like Chaucer is habit-forming) on Saturday 20TH July from midday to 7.00 pm. There will be all the usual attractions including

  • Craft stalls,

  • Bar offering dazzling variety of cool drinks including the new Staropramen, which seems to be going down nicely (Sorry...)

  • Pizza - Oscar and the pizza boys will be there; I swear they're getting bigger. The pizzas, not the boys

  • BBQ courtesy of the indefatigable Carol and crew

  • Tea and cake thanks to Britt and her team (NB volunteers welcome for Britt's team - either making cakes to sell or ... selling cakes. It's often the busiest stall of the lot)

  • Live Music - still working on this,but it's definitely in the plan.

Contact Deborah if you can help out in any of these areas or want a stall on madahal.waitinglist@gmail.com 

RHS Visit - Another Diary Date

If you're not familiar with the RHS, it's the UK's leading gardening charity that's been going since 1804. It aims to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.

Every year a group from the RHS Fruit, Vegetable and Herb committee carry out some allotment visits. Last year it was Cardiff and Child's Hill Allotments in North London. This year they want to visit Birmingham and have asked the BDAC to help them find a selection of sites to visit from the 21 st to the 23 rd June (Friday to Sunday). The group is usually around 6 people consisting of committee members, members of staff and students who take a walk round sites with plotholders, answer questions and share experiences with their hosts. They usually split into groups so they can visit more sites. On the evening of Saturday 22nd June, they're coming to Moor Green to hold a Question and Answer session in the Clubhouse.

So if you would like to meet face-to-face some of the leading lights in horticulture, this is your opportunity to quiz them about your plans, achievements and failures! The RHS Fruit, Veg & Herb Committee group visiting us (David Allison, Jim Arbury, Vicki Cooke, Nick Dunn, Gerry Edwards and Barry Newman) all have different areas of expertise and experience. For a start, 3 have allotments themselves. and all of them have expertise in growing fruit, vegetables and herbs. Three are specialists in growing and advising on fruit, two are vegetable specialists who have also Chaired the National Vegetable Society. Two particularly advise on organic methods, two are exhibition gardeners, two are exhibition judges — one also being a Britain in Bloom judge - one is an apple expert and another is a beekeeper!


Annual General meeting - Another Diary Date

In many ways this is the most important date of the lot. Saturday 6th July at 10.30. Please make every effort to come to this ; it's the one occasion where you can find out directly

  • what's happening with allotments across the City - including any news about big issues , like rents and other charges

  • what the Committee has been up to on your behalf

  • what's planned for next year.

And of course you get to elect the Committee for next year. We are very keen to get new committee members - especially from the younger end of the community. We'll let you know on good time what the procedure is for getting nominated and selected - it's very straightforward. Being a committee member doesn't have to be too time-consuming - it's only a couple of hours a month - but it is satisfying to know you're helping the place to thrive.


Beneficial Insects - Oz speaks!

Again we're looking forward to the golden days of Summer when the crops are flourishing, along with the weeds and the insects. Our own horticultural expert is very clear: not all insects are evil.

Natural Pest Control

Most of you know that Ladybirds, both the adults and larvae, are voracious eaters of aphids and baby caterpillars. Do get to recognise the larvae, as they look nothing like the adults. There are pictures on various websites including the one at the bottom of this article.

How much do you know about other insects that are also greedy for aphids? In the case of Lacewings and Hoverflies it is only the larvae that are predatory, the adults are nectar feeders. Draw the adults to your plot with flowers for the adults and they will seek out the aphids to lay their eggs. The key flowers for these two are Wild Carrot, Yarrow and Cosmos. If you grow in rows or beds, give space at the ends for a few plants of each of these. Much smaller are the larvae of predatory midges and parasitic wasps Do not confuse these with their larger cousins which can be pests in relation to us. Although the common wasp collects aphids to feed the larvae back in the nest. Earwigs, which do not have a larval stage, are omnivorous and eat aphids. They are particularly useful hunting in fruit trees and bushes. They are also preyed on by birds etc, and need daytime shelter. Some beetles are also predatory and hunt and eat smaller insects including root feeding aphids, Vine Weevil grubs and eelworm, as well as leather jackets and cutworms. The larger ones will even take slugs

As a general principle, if an insect moves quickly it is probably carnivorous. Plant feeders do not need to be mobile as their food doesn’t run away. All the small birds gather aphids and small caterpillars in large numbers to feed their young. So having nest sites nearby is the best help you can give. Simply Seed has a very helpful page - with pictures!

Good Gardening! Oz


BDAC round up

It's been a busy time at Birmingham and District Allotments Confederation following a very well attended AGM in March. Have a look at the latest news here


That's all for now. Happy plotting!

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