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Moor Green in February

Updated: Mar 5

They're here, poking through the mud. Nature's early risers.


You can even find blossom if you look hard enough. Which a bumble bee coming out of hibernation early will appreciate.

And despite all the wiseacres saying its way too early, there's still the odd plotholder taking a chance on planting...

And polytunnels are being quietly prepared. This guy looks serious. Either that or he likes white plastic boxes...


And at least January's over - and we can start looking forward a little. The pace is quickening down here now - and we've lots to tell you about.

New Clubhouse

It's finished! If you haven't been down to have a look here's our new shiny floored and immaculatedly painted HQ in all its glory.

Note the new welcome mat - it's for your wellies!

Isn't it big? And aren't the walls beautifully decorated?

If you do get the chance to come and have a look it won't escape your attention that it's not as empty as this: the chairs and tables are back. So, a thousand thanks to all of those volunteers responsible for

  1. moving the furniture out and in, notably Duncan, Debs, Tom, Sush and Paul

  2. Painting the walls, notably Glyn, Duncan and Jim

  3. Deep cleaning the bar - notably Alan, Sush, Helen and Dave

  4. Cleaning the clubhouse , notably Britt, Jo and Debs

  5. Sorting out the new floor, Maureen and Max.

  6. Doing everything and keeping the bar open as much as possible. Special thanks to Max and Jon who either led or contributed to all of the above. Things will ease off now. Honestly. Until March 3rd.

Marmalade Competition - March 3rd

If you missed last month's tip-off here's a reminder. Do you make your own marmalade? Think it’s the best marmalade on the planet? Well let’s see if it is! We would love you to enter a jar of your homemade marmalade into our first ever tasting competition to be held at Moorgreen Allotments Pavilion on Sunday 3rd March.

As this is our first competition, we will not have categories and it will be based on a

“Traditional” style of marmalade. Traditional means citrus based - orange or lime basically. Your marmalade will be judged on Colour, Aroma, Texture and most importantly taste. The competition will be judged by neutral marmalade lovers who will not have an entry in the competition.

Entering your jar of glowing orange tangy goodness:

You can enter from Saturday 2nd March (bar opens at 1pm until 6pm) and on Sunday from

10am; last entry is at 1pm on Sunday 3rd March.

It is essential that your jar is free of labels as you will be allocated an entry number that will

be assigned to your jar. Please ensure that your marmalade is presented in (ideally) a new jar with a screw top lid. If you are recycling an old jar, please ensure it has been fully washed clean and sterilised in the oven 160°C, gas mark 3 for 15 minutes before use. If you are new to marmalade making then give it a go, you can find many recipes online and Seville (Bitter) Oranges are in the shops now. We look forward to seeing you on Sunday 3rd March.

Lottery Fund bid

Site security is a constant preoccupation for the Committee. It's been relatively quiet over the past three months after a spate of break-ins, shed burnings and fly-tipping but we haven't been idle. Some stretches of fencing have been strengthened, cameras installed in one or two of the most vulnerable locations and a small group led by Dan Longley has been working on a comprehensive plan to use a combination of wifi- phone apps and motion sensitive devices all round the site to deter intruders. No idea what any of that means but they do. They'll start with a pilot set-up close to the main gate. We're also about to embark on a new Big Lottery Fund bid to get some money on site security - probably a mix of the high-tech stuff and better fencing in areas where the existing fences are inadequate - and there are plenty of those. The last bid failed because it didn't adequately show that the community supported the idea. We may have thought that that was obvious, but anyway we don't intend to make that mistake again. It would be really helpful if you could answeer the question below - particularly if it's a yes!



Do you think we should do more to improve security on site to improve the safety and peace of mind of our plotholders? A yes or no will do!

  • YES!

You can vote for more than one answer.


Many thanks - much appreciated.     We'll keep you posted.

We would also stress that a successful funding bid is not going to be the complete answer. A seven foot fence around the whole site with cameras every hundred metres if we could afford it would still not keep determined intruders out. All plotholders should do whatever they can about their personal safety and the security of their property. That includes

  • not keeping anything valuable in sheds

  • keeping good locks on sheds

  • getting to know your neighbours

  • LOCKING THE GATES!

Seedstore

We're getting ready to fire up the Seedstore again in Spring. Phil and Rob have been very busy clearing out the rubbish which has been accumulated in there over a period of years. They have now made lots of room for the new purpose of storing tools that any plotholder, can access, providing a sharpening service and , best of all selling stuff that you need at competitive prices. First instalment - the spring seed potatoes and onion sets - have now arrived and are being placed on the now empty shelving.


Next job is to order some weed suppressant and horticultural fleece on a roll. Then we open - probably in March. The probably has to do with volunteers. We need half a dozen people to volunteer to staff the seedstore in March through to May and then again in September/October when people need things like weed cover for the winter. Probably no more than a couple of hours a month on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Easy access to bar. Opportunity to meet fellow plotholders. Full training on how to operate the card machine, tape measure, scissors etc provided! If you can help please contact us on madahal.seedstore@gmail.com.

Seed Storage and Seed Life - Oz Advice

This article is about the common range of vegetable and flower seeds, such as are found in displays at garden centres , general homestores and illustrated catalogues. These packets will generally be printed with a packing date and a sowing date. The first thing to say is that the sow by date is more akin to a supermarkets best before date than it’s use by date. Seeds do not, all at once, lose their ability to germinate, but a few at a time over a period of years. For fresh seed you can expect germination in excess of 90%. For most of what we grow a germination rate for old seed of around 50% is acceptable.

Storage. The chief factors reducing seed life are temperature and moisture. Of the two, moisture is the most damaging. Seeds either try to germinate in the packet and die or get mouldy and are killed by the fungus. In general the cooler seeds are stored , down to 0 degrees C. the longer they retain viability. This only holds true if the inner part of the seed is dry. This would be as when fully ripe. In practice storing in a cardboard box in an unheated room will keep most of the seeds we use adequately viable for 4 years and more.

Note, Where the supplier has packed the seed in inner foil packets, ageing doesn’t really start until the packet is opened. Are my seeds still worth sowing? If, like me, you have not been carefully looking after your seeds, and have odd opened packets, with plenty of seeds still in them, you can run a simple test on them. Do a trial sowing under ideal conditions. In a small pot, using your favourite seed compost, sow 10 seeds. 5 if large and expensive. Give ideal conditions as indicated on the packet and see what percentage come up. As long as at least half germinate

then they are good for that year. If you don’t already have a favourite seed compost, Which Gardening Best Buy is Fertile Fibre Original either seed or multipurpose. ‘Real Seeds” website has a nice article on seed life. But I feel their maximum life, is that when you would begin to notice reduced germination, not total failure. In the next few weeks I will set up a trial/demonstration, using some of my older seeds, in the Teaching plot greenhouse. Feel free to observe.

With high hopes for 2024 - Oz.

BDAC Update

This is now going to be a regular feature of the Newsletter going forward. BDAC, the organisation that represents all allotment sites and plotholders in Brum is under new and much more effective management. This could be a really useful organisation in raising the profile and pressing the importance of allotment so their new team are well worth supporting. Have a look at the update and if you can, why not come to the AGM at Bordesley Green on March 23rd - details in the link. Free tea and biscuits and the opportunity to snoop round a different site.


That's all for now fellow plotters!

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