Just as the EDAS committee is tackling management and maintenance problems on the allotments today, the committee set up in 1833 had to grapple with the issues of its day, gradually finding its way as it learned from experience. Fortunately, our committee does not have to deal with rent collection, the most pressing concern for our predecessors. But there is a clear parallel in getting to grip with letting the vacant plots. And do you have one of the "gravelly pieces"?
You know sometimes you just like something, and you don’t have to have a good reason why . . . Steelydan comes to mind.
Well Allotment pumps is like that for me. I started the Allotment pump project a month or so ago and i have now completed the installation of two pumps. This is good timing because we have no mains water at this time so it gives us a chance to feel how it was in the days gone by on the allotment when they had no mains water. We have only had mains water for the last 20 years or so for the previous 160 years they had to find water from other sources, the ponds, watercourse and wells.
We will be having the first official skip of the year for plot holders on Sat. 18th April.
The skip is for plot holders to use to remove rubbish from their plots. The previous skips were filled up very quickly, within the same day, so we recommend that you get your rubbish ready to put in on the Saturday. When the skip is full we will put a tarpaulin over it. Please DO NOT leave items beside the skip. We will be having another skip in a few months time.
** Update: The skip should be on-site by 10am on Saturday morning **
As usual, we will be running a Volunteer Day on the first Saturday of the month. The next Volunteer Day will be on Saturday the 4th of April (starting at 10 am) when we will be working to restore the 'Long Walk' (this is the central path that runs the whole length of the site). After many years of muddy boots and heavy wheelbarrows it has become uneven and rutted. During winter it was very muddy and dangerously slippery.
So the sand and grass seed has been ordered and turf is on its way! This is our chance to make the path easier to walk along and, more importantly, safer for our older plot holders.
We hope you will join us to help out and feel part of our gardening community!
Continuing my interest in "old things" my new blog continues with items that we found in the hedgerow clearance. On Saturday 7th March we had a volunteer day that cleared rubbish from the north section of the allotment by Northfield Avenue.
Amongst the plastic bottles and metal cans i was lucky to find a bit of metal that made my day.
I found a small Pick Mattock head. The name often changes from book to book but the name Pick Mattock is listed in the 1951 Brades catalogue. This head is a lot smaller than you would expect for a mattock or pick axe.
In 1858, fifty allotment tenants signed a petition requesting that they be allowed to work on Sunday morning, before 8 a.m. The Bishop of London, when agreeing to allow the allotments on Ealing Dean Common, made it a condition that no-one should work on the Lord's day. This left the plotholders little time to tend their plots after their work in the week.
I have been looking into historical practices in allotments, things like the types of crops grown. I recently bought a pocket handbook from 1942 that was published by the National Allotments Society LTD which still exists today.
The book is a pocket book and literally it fits in your pocket and what i like about it is that the owner has written in it, giving a real slice of 1942. In April is written "set Peas on 21st, Californian Poppies and Cress on 30th".
It gets cold in the winter, Jack frost nipping at your door . . . and if you get to the allotment in the early morning you can catch the frost before the sun comes melts it away. Here are some photos of the frost giving familar items a touch of magic.
As usual, we will be running our volunteer day on the first Saturday of the month. The next volunteer day is Saturday 7th of March (starting at 10.00 am) when we will continue to work on the hedgerow. With your help last month we removed litter and rubbish from the hedgerow all along the right hand side of the main gate. Thanks again for your help, it's made a huge difference! This month we will be doing the same on the hedgerow along the left hand side of the main gate, we would love for you to join us.
Removing the litter and rubbish will improve the look of the site and improve wildlife habitat. We will be removing some of the fencing panels to get access to the mounds of bottles, cans and general rubbish that has accumulated over the years.
We started the Radbourne Walk clean up in February 2014 and held monthly volunteering days on the first Saturday of each month. We worked on one section at a time the volunteers removed litter, rubble, metal, plastic and glass. We found a lot more rubbish than expected and created enough rubbish for two skips. We cleaned the tarmac path to remove muddy puddles and turned over the soil and introduced wildflower annuals to the front section in four main areas. We removed unwanted plant species like Japanese Knotweed and we also added Stag beetle areas with log piles dug into the ground.