Saturday, October 13, 2018

Cold Frosty Sunday Sunrise

On Sunday 7th October I happened to be at the allotment as the sun was rising with my camera handy. It was a cold frosty morning. In the foreground you can see my greenhouse with Tang Hall Primary School in the background with wonderful sunrise colours to round the image off. Since then we have had a burst of summery weather taking us back up to 21 degrees C and then cooling with bursts of rain.

The allotment association has recently restarted with about sixteen members. Claire Kennard is Chair, Norah Godfrey is Treasurer, Tara Mason is secretary, Efro is membership secretary, and somehow I ended up as Vice Chair.

I have been going through some of the information that I got on the start of allotments in York. Glen Allotments was created in 1919 from three parcels of land. The three parcels were pieces from Glen Lodge, church land and a parcel of pasture land purchased from a dairy farmer. the pasture field forms a corner of the allotment and a section of Fourth Avenue. Initially the allotments stretched through to East Parade more or less surrounding three sides of Glen Lodge. As time went by during lulls in the desire to have an allotment, sections were taken away to make Glen Gardens, the tennis and basketball courts and Poplar tree gardens flats. By the Millennium only about ten plots were still active. Much of the site was covered in Brambles. A large chunk was about to be appropriated by the council for other uses and a hard battle was fought to preserve the status of the land as allotments. Fortunately interest peaked again and once more there is a waiting list for a plot.

Vandalism has reared its ugly head again. Several sheds were entered recently and tools removed and put on to other plots. Most jumbled tools have been reunited with their rightful owners. I still have two items left that need to be reunited, a screwdriver with a red and yellow handle with a distinctive marking on the handle and a hoe with a reddish brown rubber handle. If these are yours, let me know so I can return them.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Quiet For Some Time

Things have been quiet for some time. People have come and some have gone. The saddest of these was Robin our site secretary succumbing to cancer and finally dying of mesothelioma, also known as asbestosis. Whilst Robin was ill, Darren Lovelace the allotment contact at City of York Council (CYC)  asked for volunteers to take on the site secretary position but then decided he would look after it himself, many have said "not particularly well".

In the middle of last year City of York Council decided to outsource running of allotments to an outside organisation. After discussion and planning during the summer it was decided to form a charitable organisation to run the allotments who would administer the allotments, collect rents, pay a small sum to CYC and and arrange maintenance issues. This brought into being YACIO, York Allotments Charitable Independent Organisation who took over from the council at the start of the year. As was suspected YACIO took over records that in many cases were incomplete and inaccurate. In the meantime YACIO have decided that Glen allotments should have two site secretaries one female and one male. The two site secretaries are Selena Gee and Rob Vassey. Possibly a combination that could prove fairly immiscible, but so far seems to be moving along in a cooperative manner. One of the first tasks the site secretaries have to get in hand is a survey of who is on which plot and determine the plot sizes i.e. full, half or quarter as the current charts just show full plots and not the subdivisions. This will allow for bills to be accurate and to determine whether any plots are vacant and available for renting. The present waiting list for Glen allotments is 15 people.

Stephen and Tina have decided to give up their plot and have set up their back garden as a smaller scale vegetable plot but will probably drop in at the allotment from time to time.

In the next blog to come shortly I'll have some information on the history of Glen allotments. A friend of mine who has a plot at Hemplands has been researching the allotment there and has dug up some information related to Glen allotments related to it starting in 1917 (we missed out on celebrating the centenary).

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

When it comes to allotments I am firmly a "vegetable" man. However I do think that a few flowers to encourage the bees is a good thing. I also like a little bit of a challenge. Early in the year I found that somebody had dumped the contents of a flower pot on the grass at the end of the Portakabin. On closer inspection at the pile of compost I could see the brown twiggy remains of a plant and took a closer look and found that the root ball was intact. I picked it up and took it back to the greenhouse and potted it up and waited for the green shoots of recovery on a nothing ventured nothing gained basis. Sure enough, a few green shoots appeared eventually and the shoots sprouted a few leaves and then it grew a bit taller. Eventually it sprouted some flower buds that had an intense wine red colour. At this point, I took it out of the greenhouse for it to get some outside air. This was the result. A beautiful Campagnula to reward my efforts.
In the background of the photo you can see Penstemons. In spring I took a load of cuttings from them when I cut them back and did the same with the Osteospermums at home. Most of the cuttings took and I now have lots of plants that Ann and I will be selling at the Glen Gardens Summer Fair on Saturday. Money from selling the plants will go in aid of the York branch of the National Osteoporosis Society. Ann will have a stall at the fair with information and advice on Osteoporosis.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Some Time Since Last Post

Much has happened since my last post. There was a big falling out of the Association and it fell into disuse. People have come and gone but the majority of plots are in use.
My greenhouse has extended at each end and as usual all available space is occupied.
The gentleman on the plot next to us finally gave up his plot when he went into a care home and we took on his plot. That allowed me to extend the greenhouse onto the second plot. So now there is the central 12 foot section of Aluminium and glass and the two 6 ft extensions of wood and PVC sheeting at each end. The second plot was a little prone to flooding so Nev on the other side of us offered me two skips of silky sandy soil when he was digging out footings for a garage he was building for a customer.  With two skips full there was no need to dig, we just placed the soil on top of the newly mowed grass and planted direct into the new soil. Because we are directly behind the manure bins I built my compost bins backing on to them. Now when I want to cap off the compost with manure I just toss it over the back of the bin into my compost bins, very handy.
We have also set up some compost bins next to the paths on the plot using Linka Boards from Armillatox. Double wall plastic with plastic corner pieces to link them make up in a square. Several squares are then stacked on top of each other and then joined using a plastic rod that goes down through the corners. The rod stabilises and fixes the squares in position to make a compost bin. They can also be used to make a raised bed for those with a mania for putting gardens in boxes. In the foreground of the photo are lettuce (Little Gem) with leeks behind. to the right are more lettuce (Lettony) and Pak Choi with potatoes in the distance.
Ann of course wanted a patch of flowers and so we utilised the short area at the end of the greenhouse, here you can see Alchemilla Mollis, Nigella that borders the path between us and the next plot. A couple of spurges a lot of Penstemon variegated Iris, a Geranium, some Hostas  that you can't see. To the left are the brassica plots made with plastic water pipe and netting stretched over them. This allows us to use slug pellets under the net and contains dead slugs and snails under the net so that they do not get eaten by the birds.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Last Wednesday Barry Bothamley and Mac Mitchell met with Councillor Tina Funnell to show her the work that had been carried out by members of the gardening club and the work that had not been carried out by the council last year e.g. hedge cutting, grass cutting and general tidying around the site. The question of getting plot 46 on a rent free basis was raised and will be taken up with the appripiate department of the council.

Since the letter from the council to Mac Mitchell on the 18th December Mac has withdrawn his support and that of his firm Mitchel Landscapes of York And Malton from all future social events and voluntary works associated with the allotment site.

My own feelings are that this is a loss to the site and many will miss the availability of materials that were available through him at very advantageous prices along with machinery that was made available at low or no cost to plotholders for general site maintenance work that is NOT done by the council or was done on a very irregular basis. So, I would like to offer my personal thanks to Mac for the great contribution to Glen Allotments that he has made since he first arrived on the scene a couple of years ago.

Over recent weeks many plots have been under water, perhaps the worst of them was Duane's plot where the raised beds stuck up above the water like barges on the river with quantities of bark mulch floating around on the deep water where the paths should be. Flooding has been a frequent occurence over the last year for many plotholders and if weather predictions are to be believed we probably need to be getting our heads together and thinking of ways that we can help those on plots that are worst affected by this problem.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Plot 46 Thanks Sponsors

Plot 46 would like to thank sponsors and volunteers for the help in arranging the Halloween evening on Friday 26th October for children under 12 years of age.

Thanks to Jaison Martin of Martins Skip Hire, Roy Hanley of A1 Haulage, Elvington Plant Hire and Mitchell's Landscapes of York and Malton for all their help over the past few years.

Any donations for the Tombola or anyone wanting to help on Friday 26th October should contact Barry Bothamley on 01904 425640.

Coming soon the Christmas Fair on 8 December at Heworth Church Hall.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Halloween Will Soon Be Upon Us

Autumn has arrived with odd foggy mornings and the trees turning colour and dropping their leaves. It being October it is also the Hallowen month and will be celebrated on Glen Allotments with a Halloween evening on Friday 26 October. A similar format to last year will see the gates open at 6 p.m. for various attractions like Raffles, Tombola and refreshments. From requests from last year's event the refreshments will include the usual Tea and Coffee with Hot Dogs, Spicy Spare Ribs, Bacon Banjos and Jacket Potatoes. Events for the children include the Ghost Walk at 6:45 p.m. for which there will be a modest charge of 20p per child. At 7:45 p.m. is the Carved Pumpkin Competition. So get busy selecting your pumpkin and carving it to produce something interesting that is going to catch the judges eye. Please note that, this event is aimed at children under the age of twelve and is not suitable for older children.

Sadly, Ann and I are going to be away in the Far East and will miss this event but we'll be back for the Christmas Fair that will be held in the Heworth Church Hall on Melrosegate. More on that later.