The weather was dry and warm this weekend, so a reasonable turnout for our Autumn action weekend and clear-up. Thanks to everyone who came along and helped out; there was plenty of clearing, and a bonfire on both days (but sadly no sausages!).
There was also a lot of mowing and strimming – thanks to John for bringing along his new ‘toy’.
It wasn’t all work though, there was ‘time off’ for a cuppa and a catch up with some old friends and a few new faces.
The one important project for the weekend, was to install a new water tank at the top end of the allotment (alongside Jack’s polytunnel). This was possible thanks to Welsh Water who used the allotment to film a commercial earlier in the year, and generously paid a fee for the privilege. I am pleased to say that the work was completed and it is a huge improvement on the previous arrangement – again thanks are due to Andrew and Mike for all their hard work, and of course all the other helpers.
New water tank – almost completed
If you weren’t able to come along, then I hope we will see you at the next Action Day.
The days are noticeably shorter, and this month the clocks go back – I always think that this signals the transition from Autumn to Winter, but there are still plenty of jobs to do, and lots of Autumn colour to enjoy – take some time to stop and look and maybe take a photo or two (and send them to me for posting on the webpage).
One of my favourite jobs at this time of the year is raking up all the leaves, and storing to rot down into leaf mould; it’s a long job, although I shred the leaves it still takes two years to make good leaf mould, but it is well worth the wait, the resulting rich crumbly compost makes an excellent soil conditioner and mulch. And as it is always full of worms the birds love it when it is spread on the flower beds.
It is also a busy time in the greenhouse, but it is a good idea to give it a good clear out and clean before you start taking cuttings, propagating and sowing seeds ready for an early start next year. A good tidy will also make room for all those pots of tender plants that you need to overwinter.
There are a couple of allotment matters this month – firstly don’t forget to place your Kings Seeds order by the end of October. Links to the order form and catalogue are shown below.
Also there is a clear up/action weekend on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th October. Hopefully this will be better attended that the last action days when only two people turned up. The plot needs a general tidy, and a bonfire to get rid of all the rubbish. Also the containers need sorting and tidying, and finally some prep work so that a new water tank can be installed at the top end of the plot (near Jack’s poly tunnel). So as you can see plenty to do, so please make an effort to come along from mid-morning, bring a flask and join in.
Having recently returned from a trip to northern Spain in search of wildlife, I thought fellow allotmenteers would like to see some Spanish style allotments. We were in the Cantabrian Mountains which, on their north face, are green and Atlantic facing. It is surprisingly similar to home. The mountain slopes were covered with oak and beech woods. Our first stay was in this area and we spent an evening looking for bears near the village where we were staying. Along the side of the lane, which we had walked up to view the opposite slope where bears had recently been seen, was an allotment of a kind, possibly just one person’s vegetable garden but quite large.
Being in the mountains they had a poly tunnel as well. There were squashes, fruit trees, climbing beans, brassicas and tomatoes. While we stood and watched in vain to see a bear a local passed by and told our leader that a bear had eaten his plums and figs a day or two before. They had been walking up the road when it was still enjoying the figs! The fig tree was alongside us and had a broken branch which seemed to back up his story. Better evidence was found the next day as we walked the same area –
Yes it is a pile of bear dung full of plum stones and figs! Whilst we didn’t see bears at this site we were lucky the following two days higher up the valley. On the same path there was a spring where we found the largest black slugs I have ever seen probably three times the size of any we have in Wales.
On the south facing slopes the hotter Mediterranean influence is clear. It was much drier and hotter, abnormally so for September hitting 35 centigrade in the afternoons. It was possible to grow peppers and tomatoes outside but even here there were poly tunnels, some homemade. Apparently there can be 3 foot of snow even in April. In this area there are also bears but fewer. We were in that area to see wolves and again we had good and thankfully distant views on two days. This was much higher in the mountains from where we were staying but they do come along the track between the cottages and the allotments below-
There were leeks, potatoes, climbing beans planted in a block rather than in rows, and chickpeas.
We may complain about the rabbits the slugs and other pests but the idea of having the plot raided by bears or meeting a passing wolf on the way to the plot puts it into perspective!
Dave Jones – September 2016
The Kings Seeds catalogue is now available for you to view and place your order. As before, links to the various sections are listed below, together with the order form. Orders need to be decided by the end of October, so that I can place the order early November for delivery before Christmas. You do not need to add the individual packing charge of £1.00 or complete payment details on the order form. Please let me have your payment with order, cheques payable to Dynevor Gardening Association.
Any queries or problems please let me know.
Allotment owners in Cardiff are encouraged to be extra vigilant following a number of incidents across the city.
In the past week allotments have been targeted by vandals in Gabalfa, Fairwater and Whitchurch.
Incidents occurred overnight between Tuesday, 6th August and Wednesday, 7th August, 2016.
There is nothing that links the incidents which have occurred in different areas.
Crime Reduction officer, Pc Antony Parker, said: “People put a lot of work into their allotments and it can be heart breaking when they are targeted in this way by mindless vandals.
“We know that the hinges were taken off some sheds on the allotments, so we advise the use of back plates and threaded coach bolts should be used to prevent break-ins.
“Building relationships with other allotment owners too can encourage a sense of community and improve information sharing about suspicious incidents.”
Anybody who does have information can contact South Wales Police via 101 quoting ref: 343526 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111