Saturday, 31 December 2016

Walking Onions Planting Membrane


As I was up early I took the opportunity of cutting out the 42 holes in the two sheets of 1.2m x 0.6m walking onion planting membrane sheets. That's another job ticked off the list of things I can do for the allotment without being on the allotment.

Now I just need to get the raised bed frames built and I'm thinking that to stop the wind and the foxes knocking them down as they grow their apple-sized top set of papery bulbs at the top of a 3ft hollow leaf stalks, I will put a tile batten in each corner of the bed and fence it off, or make removable panels for weeding watering and generally making bed maintenance easy. 

  

Friday, 30 December 2016

Winter Boots & Meeting New Plot Holder

Wally the chap I met on the plot a couple of weeks ago has decided to take on a half plot and I met him on site this morning so that he could have a final look before he submits, his paperwork.

His daughters applied for the plot for him, as he is retired and they want to keep him active and productive and are looking forward to consuming the produce he grows.

Whilst there I carried on with the cutting up of the pop bottle greenhouse frames that were dumped back on my plot by the guy who was given an notice to quit after having a neighbouring plot for two years and doing nothing with it over than covering with a tarp and then all manor of crap.

New thermal winter boots I picked up from Aldi for £14.99 kept my feet nice and toasty throughout the visit to the plot.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Happy Seedmas

Seedmas follows Christmas, its that time of year when the seed circles start sending out the seeds that the members of the circles have sent to the organiser. The way it normally works is that you send your seeds in using an envelope usually padded, with a label with your address on and a 1st Class Large postage stamp for the seeds to come back to you once everyone has submitted their contribution.

Today I received one envelope with contents from two circles off the Grow Your Own Grapevine forum Tomato and the Pea & Bean Circles and the contents were:

Tomatoes - 29 varieties to add to my ever growing collection, most packs have a minimum of 8 seeds in them 

Arnyalma
Berkeley Tie-Dye
Black Cherry Tomato
Black Icicle
Black Russian
Black Sea Man 
Blush
Brown Sugar
Cream Sausage
Chiapis Wild
Dark Galaxy
German Queen
Green Zebra
Gold Rush Currant
Harbinger
Jack Hawkins
Legend
Mrs Rucks
Mountain Princess
Otto's Papa
Red Buffalo Horn
Red Zebra
Rio Grande
Rosella
Unknown Black with a working title of Schwarse Weinreich - Saved by Nellie-m
Summer Cider
Speckled Roman
Vesennij Mieurinsky
Yellow Perfection

My contribution to the tomato seed circle was Amish Mayberry , Tumbling Tom Red, 100s & 1000s

Here is an interesting link re the Health Benefits Of Tomatoes

Beans -  13 Beans my contribution was Scarlet Emperor  

Blue Beans
Brejo CFB
Cara la Virgen de la Bañeza León
Cherokee Trail of Tears
Crimson Flowered Broad Bean
Hinrichs Riesen Dwarf French Bean
Kew Blue
Major Cook's Climbing French Bean
Mangetout Winterkefe
Nun's Belly Button Bush Beans
Ryder's Blue CoCo CFB
Starley Red Peas (Dwarf French Bean)
Vermont Cranberry Bush Bean

Also today swept up another sack of leafs in the front garden and cut/ melted another two 2.4 x 1.2m Blank Bed Sheets and 2.4m x 0.8m path membranes whilst the sun was on the garden table and it was warmish and not windy.

Also made a timber seed sowing rule using stripwood 900mm long 44.5mm wide and 4mm thick with 10mm dia. holes at 25mm centres. Shame they don't sell that section of timber longer and I could have made it just under a bed width. I may make another so I have one on each plot. 
  

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Working for the Allotment not on it

Working for the allotment rather than on it today. After a freezing night, with the car covered in ice at 10:00 pm last night and the terracotta pot heater used to try and keep the frost and ice at bay in the spacesaver greenhouse, the sun come out this morning and it was actually became quite nice and warm once the sun was shining on the patio table.


So warm in fact that I took the opportunity to cut / weld a 2.4 x 1.2m metre sheet out of the 2m wide roll and then make two 600mm x 1.2m sheets and mark them out for holes at 150mm centres for the walking onion beds.

I sent an email to the local brewery this morning to see if they had any sacks of spent hops they didn't want, and I got a reply more or less by return and arranged to meet the chief brewer at their establishment and pick up some sacks. What a nice guy, took me in and showed me around and then gave me half a point of their Gold larger to try. Next visit I will pick up a few bottles as it was the best I have tasted in a long time as I usually drink bitter these days. 

So a car full of spent hops were dropped off at my plot on Spencer Road and I have notified all our plot holders that we can pick up 8- 10 sacks from the brewery each week.  

Monday, 26 December 2016

Living With The Consequences

Christmas Day Marshalls had 20% off their orders so I bit the bullet and ordered the Chefs choice option in there 2017 catalogue 3 varieties 5 crowns of each pacific 2000, Araine & Millennium plus a free harvesting knife.

Thank you to all the grapes on the Grow Your Own forum for the feedback and discussion

As a direct result I have amended the proposed layout and placed two permanent beds behind the fruit cages and the Daleks.

Click on image to expand

Now the kicker, the asparagus is due for delivery 6th March  + or - 14 days so that's anytime between the 20th February and the 20th March so it looks like I have my work cut out to get bed 14 as weed free as possible and prepared ready.  

Saturday, 24 December 2016

I used to be indecisive now I'm just not sure

It's all to do with it being winter and planning the plot and re planning the plot !
Click on the image to view full screen

I had intended to square flower buckets at the end of the paths between beds for things like wildflowers for the bees so four and the others would have other container liking plants in. .

I really love eating asparagus and I have been meaning to get some in especially as you don't take anything in the first year 50% in the second and don't get a full harvest until the third and for the next 20+

So there needs to be permanent beds for it. Looking at my plan above, instead of flower buckets I'm now thinking of inserting 600x600 beds at the end or the paths and using these for everlasting Onions, Asparagus and Rhubarb. 


My question is would one crown in each 600 x 600 bed be OK and would you foresee any future problems with what I am proposing?

Beds 17 & 18 are 600 wide by 1.8m long so I would get 4 crowns in each bed at the recommended 450mm centres 



Now I do have Asparagus seeds but I'm now reading it's better to buy crowns and Marshalls have a Chefs choice option in there 2017 catalogue 3 varieties 5 crowns of each pacific 2000, Araine & Millennium plus a free harvesting knife for £14.99 which looks like a good deal as the knife sells for £6.99

So I'm torn, I can't really see myself having permanent beds in place and importantly weed free in time to buy and plant in March this year.

Do I get the infrastructure and the beds prepared this year and loose another year?

Do I go for the Flower Buckets this year on top of the areas for where the paths will be and have this as a longer term objective? 

Do I grow from seeds and that gives me a year to grow them and plant them next year?

What would you do ? Help me out here !

Friday, 23 December 2016

Grow Your Own Magazine & Gift

After being nominated and selected as the Grow Your Own magazine forum the Grapevine Member of the Month for November, then having a one of my forum feedbacks to questions asked by the magazine Admin team along with three other Grapes had made it into the magazine in the December Issue. I've just found that I also been published in the January Issue.  

In addition a set of 90 degree corner brackets from Indoor Outdoor have been sent to me by the Grow Your Own Admin team as a little thank you for my contribution to the forum.  Their gifts normally take for form of items that have been sent to them to review.

The corner brackets are made from high grade steel and powder coated in either matt black or brown. This makes them robust and it's not going to rust quickly and loose strength.  

They were originally created to be used with Railway Sleepers to create pathway edging however they have also been used for raised beds.  I have another use for them as I'm just about to create a scaffold board base for my greenhouse on the allotment. 


These brackets will allow me to fix the boards at the corners and assist in anchoring the greenhouse against the high winds that we get crossing the allotment, as I don't want my greenhouse to end up like my brother in law shed did in the storms last March now do I. 

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Marshalls & Unwins 2017 Seed Catalogues



The NEW 2017 Unwins and Marshalls catalogue will be landing on doorsteps after Christmas, packed with 100s of new and exclusive varieties for 2017.  


But if you cant wait and you want to start planning for the spring and summer ahead

Here is the link for The Marshalls 2017 Catalogue

Here is the link for The Unwins 2017 Catalogue

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Wandle Valley Safer Neighbourhood Team


This morning on Spencer Road Allotment, another committee member, the Site Rep and I met with  PC Joe Keogh I 119 ZT from the Sutton Police Station | Wandle Valley Safer Neighbourhood Team. We also introduced the PC to one of the plot holders who was on site whos shed was attacked.  

This visit was a direct result of reporting the break-ins and the CCTV footage obtained of two individuals who were observed jumping over the fence, entering the allotment and on seeing that they were being observed climbed back out using a tree up against the fence, and scarpered on a motorcycle, whos number plate was recorded.

It transpired that "The two males were not recognised locally by officers. Unfortunately the VRM provided came back to a Toyota Yaris, which is not the vehicle in the CCTV"

The Police are also no longer permitted to chase offenders on motorcycles especially if they are not wearing a helmet, indeed some take their helmets off because of the ruling see here 

Following our meeting PC Joe Keogh was kind enough to send an email of guidance notes for me to share with the plot holders on how we should report any future break-ins as the route we had been previously been informed to take by the council to contact the Parks Police has been altered.

Hi Alan, in response to our conversation today, please find the following guidance when reporting incidents to police.
  • If an offence IS BEING committed on your allotment, please report it on 999.
  • If an offence HAS BEEN committed on your allotment, please report it on 101.
  • All offences should be reported as soon as possible. This maximises the window for evidence to be gained.
  • Any items which have been interfered with should remain untouched. Clean smooth/shiny surfaces are the best to obtain fingerprints from. Please keep these items to one side and preserve if possible by covering the item.
Again as spoken about earlier, If you notice another plot holders shed has been broken into, inform them and advise them to report it. They should attend the plot to establish what has been taken/damaged if anything. Also, please email me so we are aware. If the plot holder decides not to report it then at least we will know about it. 

There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to security, it's all personal preference and what works for one person or area may not necessarily work for another. But I would say the more measures that are put in place the better. I have attached some official guidance for you to disseminate to other plot holders.

In addition to the above, your closed Spencer Road Allotment Facebook group is ideal for providing all plot holders with information on incidents. The more people who are aware and are informed, the more vigilance they will have.

It may be worth floating the idea among your members of installing some type of deterrent. CCTV cameras or Motion Censor lights are great and can be picked up at a decent price on Amazon / Ebay. If everyone clumped together, the cheaper it will be.

For obvious reasons, do not install these at low level/on sheds as they can be easily removed.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.

Kind Regards,

Joe
PC Joe Keogh I 119 ZT Sutton Police Station | Wandle Valley Safer Neighbourhood Team

Obviously the committee would request that if you are a target of a break-in that after phoning 101 to arrange for an officer to visit and take details, your second telephone call should be to a committee member so that an alert can be sent to all plot holders who have provided their email addresses.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

BT Smart Hub Wireless Cable & Fibre Router

It has to be said, that with each version of the BT hub the coverage appears to shrink and this hub the Smart Hub 6 will not sync with my HP Printer using the WPS Wi Fi Setup, I had to do it manually and once set up it still would not function beyond a couple of prints before it drops the connection. Four bars out of 5 and it's sitting next to the printer on the same shelf!  

In the end I've gone back to a USB cable. BT Support takes forever and over the weekend after waiting getting spoken to then passed on and on the phone waiting for over an hour they finally transferred me to someone with a brain, and not with just a script of questions and answers to follow who assisted me in solving one of my problems resulting from the hub upgrade. What's more she was based in the UK and the quality of the line was good and I could understand what she was saying.

Survey Question

Q: BT - Would you recommend us to a friend

A: Me -  NO but regrettably most of the other providers out there are equally inept ! 

Monday, 19 December 2016

Compost Humification Agent



I have been approached by Soil Fixer to undertake some testing of their products and report the results on here my Blog.

To this end they have supplied me with their Compost Humification Agent, a what? I thought.

It turns out it’s a posh term for a compost activator which historically I have resisted, as I spend a lot of time cutting up my compost greens, if it's not grass cuttings and I fill my Dalek army in alternate layers of Greens and Browns, and wet it down, I also add Coffee Grounds and Comfrey not to mention liquid gold (if you know what I mean) and I have not had problems activating the compost and never felt the need for a compost activator before.

However I always up for testing a new product or process.

As I’m at the end of the season and basically my compost is more or less done for this year,  my plan is to empty two Daleks next year and fill both with the same material but using SoilFixer Compost Humification Agent in one Darlek. In this way It can be a real controlled test.

The only problem with this approach is that it’s going to take me a year to get the compost ready for the testing, but I would rather do that and have a fair test than rush it and not give nature, and nature with a little help time to do it's magical thing, produce wonderful compost.

SoilFixer state that “We are confident  your improved “compost” will deliver at least a 20% increase in yield).” So the plan is to put that to a test and below is how I intend to do it

Proposed Potato Test

For the last few years I have been growing my first earlies in flower buckets both circular and square from supermarkets, and in 30 litre buckets that I have bought specifically for growing spuds.

I grow spuds in a mixture of 50% Compost, 40% Coir, 10% soil and add a Potato fertiliser. The mixture is added to my allotment beds as a soil improver at the end of the season, and I have been known to add some back into the compost daleks as browns and to be re energised.

The test soils for comparison will be:-

Just soil (control)
Soil + normal compost
Soil + normal compost + Coir + Fertiliser <<< My Standard Bucket Mix
Soil + improved compost
Soil + improved compost + SoilFixer SF60

Two varieties of first early seed potatoes (yet to be determined) will be grown in each test mixture and at the end of the test, the number weight and condition of the spuds will be compared and the results published on this blog.

I'm going to have to think about some larger scale tests as well. There are a few others involved in the testing Darren Turpin over at Notes From The Allotment is taking a more fast track approach to creating some compost for testing.  

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Onion Support, Manure & Leafs

I had planned what was next for plot 23B, however it was foggy this morning and I finished off installing the supporting tomato stem clip rings on wires to the onions as the foliage is starting to droop and spread over the trays.


I was the first one on the plot, but slowly many more plot holders turned up. I looked at the manure heap and it was more like a lump than a heap. For some reason people didn't want so scrape off the layer on the path so I did and filled two flower buckets and the wheelbarrow with nice rotted manure. Another 3 - 4 trips and I had topped up Dalek 5 to the brim and filled 10 flower buckets up.
Next weeding of bed 4 and then a covering of leafs, I did have to de wood the bags, so I must have words with you daughter and her man about just exactly is and isn't good the allotment.

The phones battery died so no photograph of the weed membrane and holding down used to stop it blowing away. Wednesday I'm picking up some sand and making some soft bricks up and hopefully covering up bed 2 before the policeman arrives to chat about the break-ins.

I also set out the rest of the beds along the path with my neighbour so I could see where the greenhouse fruit cages will be. The compost I brought with me went into Dalek 1 and a layer of shredded paper on top to keep the warmth in and the worms happy.

Bed frame 6 has been stacked on top of bed 4 and bed frame 5 on top of bed 7 ready to expose both beds so they can be dug, however this is not now likely until the new year with only a week to go to Christmas.

Update Bed 4 covered and the bed / paths staked out along the neighbours path.


Saturday, 17 December 2016

What's Next on Plot 23B

The plan above will enlarge if you click on it.

After re arranging the Space Saver Greenhouse, it's made me focus on what's next and important on plot 23B.

Area 1 Needs to be raised ready to accept the greenhouse by the end of March but in order to do that I need to extract the debris from the allotment which hopefully will come naturally from areas 2 & 3

Area 2 Which is beds 6 & 8 which the overwintering onions are to go into. With all the onions in the greenhouse this has to be priority.

Area 3 Again holds the two Walking Onion beds and needs clearing weeding and the beds made

Bonus area would be the strip along the boundary with between beds 3 - 13 which I know have lots of large lumps of concrete and hardcore that will assist in raising Area 1 

Beds 2 & 4 need a layer of leafs over and covering up, I need a few bags of sand for the soft bricks and these can be picked up Wednesday and dropped off when I'm meeting the community copper on the allotment following the break-ins

Thursday, 15 December 2016

View from The Greenhouse Door

The order of the day was to sort out the bottom of the space saver greenhouse and remove the celery that quite frankly just was not growing and developing as it should,

With the additional space I can now spread out the onions that have grown so well that they are beginning to touch the bottom of the trays above.

So top shelf the trays on the sloping ends have been moved to the bottom.

Only the Tree or Walking onions now remain on the second level allowing the onions on the third layer to grow beyond the second

The bottom layer layout will be modified if it becomes necessary to use the terracotta pot heater the wifi thermometer monitor has been moved to the bottom of the greenhouse to keep an eye on the temperature at that level. 

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Handy Food Container Buckets with Lids


The sun has come out to play today and as a result the outside temperature is around 10.9 degrees in the shade and 13.2 in the greenhouse. I picked up another half dozen food storage buckets with lids from my friendly local pizza shop owner & manager Amid last night. Amid is a great guy and saves these for me, bless him he had even washed them out for me. So they are out airing and drying off in the Winter sun.

So I now have buckets with lids just in time for the saving of coffee grounds, once I can find another supply that is as my sister has been transferred from Sutton to New Malden and I've lost my source as the coffee shop was opposite the bank she worked in, and I used to get them on a Tuesday when I picked her up from work.    

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Compost Drop Off


Dalek 2 received the kitchen compost and most of the sprouts from Sundays harvest as they were just too small once the outer leafs had been stripped. This photo also shows the paving that has gone in front of the Dalek Army.



Plenty of Red Wigglers in there doing their thing on the last of the comfrey .....

Monday, 12 December 2016

3 Prong Long Handle Cultivator


I've been looking at these for some time and prices range anything from £14 - £30 depending on make material and who is selling them.

1) Take one hand cultivator being sold off at £1.50 at the Co-op.
2) Cut off the end of the handle at the joint with a saw.
3) Clean up the cut end with small file and/or sand paper.
4) Measuring depth of hollow handle and then file an old (or New) broom handle so it just fits inside.
5) Drill small pilot hole for screw in the plastic handle about half way.
6) Insert broom handle and insert screw.
7) Wipe the broom handle over with some teak oil from the shed.




Job done - one long handled 3 prong cultivator for the allotment that has not cost me the earth...

Weed Membrane Growing Sheets

The objective is to have to weed as little as possible, and as a result of clearing up plot 1A on Sunday I have established that I need to cut three more blank 1.2 x 2m sheets which will leave me more 2.4m x 800mm wide path membrane sheets. In addition I have now decided to try and grow the beetroots via sheets with the same configuration as the Onion sheets so I also need to cut one more Onion sheet and two more for the Beetroots.

If I can get the sheets cut, then the marking up and cutting out can be done indoors over the next couple of dark cold winter months ready for the growing season next year.

In addition I require two Walking Onion sheets 1.2 x 0.6m with planting holes 7 x 3 at 150mm centres giving 21 planting locations using 2 or 3 as watering at battleship grid reference 2,2 and 5,2 and 6,2 leaving 18 holes for the onions which happens to be the amount of bulbs I have.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

More Leaf Collection and Plot Clean Up

A return visit to my eldest daughter property this morning to collect the last remaining sacks of leafs, if it had not of rained I would have also picked up the council sacks on the pavement, but the three sacks in the back were full to the brim and the top of the sacks were level with the top of the front seats.

These were taken to Mill Green as the plan today was to harvest sprouts, which it has to be said are the worst sprout that I have ever grown. If you recall my sprouts died and I had to buy plants from Wyevale. Lesson learnt grow twice as many than you need and a week or two apart and give what you don't want away. 


Bed 15 was stripped of the framework that the Kiwano Cucumbers had been growing up and the weeds removed. The weeds were also removed from the paths around the bed. The paths are in desperate need of digging out and replacing with fresh woodchips, however the chap that used to arrange it for us has given up his plot, and the pick up and drop off area is not yet started, so there is nowhere to drop them that will not prevents at least three cars parking. 

The contractor is going to have to remove some trees so I intend to phone him on Monday and ask if the tree surgeon can leave the chips there for us to collect, and try and get some idea what the fence is being replaced and the pick up and drop off area is going to be established.


 Two sacks of leafs that came from my back garden and had been picked up with the lawn mower were spread over the bed and then watered in with comfrey water as an activator.



Finally the bed was covered with it's Winter weed membrane, the frame from one of the old pop bottle greenhouse was laid on top to hold down the membrane and a cut down bread basket and soft brick added to hopefully keep everything in place during high winds.


Other path arears have been cleared, the butternut squash foliage was added to the compost bin. Then four of the nine sprouts were harvested, the others are way too small to be harvested and I suspect they will more than likely end up becoming compost material.

Dalek one is once again half full with compost material, and a layer of brown, Verve compost and Coir from the tomatoes was added as browns to assist in the composting action and re energise the compost.

Water from the nettle bin was decanted into the comfrey bin, as I will eventually take the nettle bin to Spencer Road. So we are getting there slowly, I need to cut three more winter bed sheets to put the two sweetcorn beds and the butternut squash bed to sleep for the winter.

Not to self take 2017's plan down to the site so you know how to treat the beds before they are covered.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Leaf Drop Off To Spencer Road Plot 23B

My eldest daughter had been picking up leafs in the front, side and back garden and I ended up visiting her and picking up 11 very full sacks of leafs that filled the back and the passengers seat of the car and they were dropped off to the allotment just before it go dark.

They are currently stacked halfway up the plot and I need to sort out what I'm going to do with them as I already have the square Dalek 3 filled to the top with leafs

I may spread a few bags over beds 2 & 4 and then cover and let the worms to their thing and take them down into the soil.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Leaf Drop Off to Mill Green Plot 1A

I've already filled the big square Dalek on Spencer Road plot 23B now its the turn of Mill Green Plot 1A to receive another seven sacks of leafs that have been harvested with the lawn mower late afternoon yesterday from the back garden and another sack swept up from the drive in the front this morning.  

There are a whole load of leafs to be collected from my eldest daughters place once they have bagged them up.  

I'm so tempted to stop and collect them when I see the huge piles on the pavements.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Walking Onions

My Walking Onions which are Catawissa which originated from the USA and Air Onions that came from Finland have been sitting in their little bags in my office next to my printer waiting for me to get around to planting them in vending machine cups filled with compost.

Well in the process of installing the new BT hub because the old one stopped working I noticed that they had got tired of waiting and had started to grow.

A dash outside in 10 degrees that felt a lot colder and very quickly they were planted up and inside the greenhouse.
     

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Happiness is Making Compost

Today was the turn of Mill Green and Plot 1A, there was a hard frost and the top of the composting daleks were hairy with crystals, and there was ice floating on some of the flower buckets of water and one with a thick layer of ice on.

The two beds of sweetcorn stems, and the celery that was semi frozen made there way into compost bins 3 &4 topping them up to the brim. Compost bin 1 was decanted into compost bin 2 filling it to the brim. The rest was bagged up ready for use in the new year.

Dalek one now empty received a layer of grape vine that had been severely cut back. I'm thinking of having the three vines out and replacing with seedless grapes as the family at too spoilt and contend with pips. Cabbage, Runner Beans, Sweet Corn & Cucumber Foliage with a mix of the end of the Comfrey also made it into Dalek one with a little diluted golden magic. 

The bean trenches were weeded dug and composted. The invasive Hawthorne and brambles from plot 1 were cut back.   

The sun shone all morning and the temperature increased, Beautiful my robin appears to have a mate and was all around where I had been working. Happiness being on the plot and making compost   

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Brussel Sprouts Fiasco


After the Thompson and Morgan All Season Sprout Fiasco, I decided to look to see what seed are out there at a reasonable price, so decided to look at ebay. I have bought Bedford Darkmar 21 & Evesham Special for 99p each including postage and both packs come with 400 seed!

Now I'm never going to sow all 400 seeds, so my plan is to post a notice on the new Spencer Road Allotment Facebook Close Group and see if anyone on the site wants to exchange a quantity of their seeds of a different variety for either of mine. I'm also involved in a couple of seed circles so hopefully that may be a source for exchange as well.

Ideally I want to plant / try at least 4 - 6 different varieties next year.


Friday, 2 December 2016

Beds 2 & 4 Cleared

An odd hour Wednesday and today and I now have the celery all chopped up and in Dalek 1 which is once again topped up to the brim. No water as it's turned off so some ice that is still floating on the rain held by the plastic sheets has been added on top so that it wets the celery as it melts.

The purple boxes are washing tablet boxes and are currently being used to hold stones that come to the surface during the weeding. I will leave the beds open to the elements for a couple of weeks and hopefully any slugs will get frozen to death before I cover with a weed membrane once I have bought some sand and made some soft bricks to hold the sheets down. The wind does lick through the site and I don't want them flying off. 

Thankfully no more signs of shed attack of vandalism during the last two visits.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Crime Management Services

Today I received an email from the Crime Management Services basically thanking me for contacting the police to report the recent crime. By reporting this I have apparently helped the police to understand local crime and police the area more effectively!.

It then informs me that they are writing to inform me that this crime is being assigned to a dedicated investigating officer.

Which is more than likely to be one of the Parks police that you can't ever get hold off because they only appear to work in the afternoons Monday to Friday, but we will see. 

It the proceeds to inform me that "This officer will be in contact shortly (if they have not been already) to discuss the investigation further. Please tell the officer how you would prefer to be contacted, so that they can keep you fully up to date throughout the course of the investigation."

Then follows information about getting advice on crime prevention, further support or information about local policing, the investigating officer will be happy to help. Alternatively, I can find useful crime prevention advice on our crime prevention pages at www.met.police.uk/crimeprevention. also If I  would like independent support or advice I can contact Victim Support at any time on 020 7740 8282 or online at www.victimsupport.org.uk.

It then informs me that although the investigating officer should contact me at the earliest opportunity, occasionally other operational policing issues cause short delays, and if I have not been contacted within 5 days of receiving this letter I should chase them up.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Meeting the Old Bill on the Allotment

The original break-in was reported to the council allotment officer and she was meeting with the Parks Police that day, and hopefully informed them.

The site rep left an answerphone message, for the Parks Police the following day and I telephoned them the day after that but they can't log a CAD number unless they actually meet you on site.

On Sunday one of the committee members who lives next to the allotment saw two youths on a motorbike, one climbed over the fence and was seen and his mate on a motor cycle called him and got him to climb out as he noticed that they were being watched. No only watched but video recorded as well thanks to a neighbours CCVT camera.

So today after repetitive break-ins every couple of days and after ringing the parks Police in the morning a couple of times and in the afternoon and not getting a reply, because unbeknown to us they don't come on duty until after 2pm and they only work Monday to Friday, after listening to the recorded messages I telephoned 101 and within a hour two officers were on the plot.

The advice is if you see anyone on the plot who should not be there and is not a plot holder ring 999. If you find criminal damage and items stolen after the fact ring 101 and they will get a patrol car and a couple of coppers down normally in around an hour.

The CAD number for the latest break-ins is 4797 28/11 and basically they have taken broad details and will get the neighbourhood team to liaise, and have suggested that individual plot holders contact them with details regarding what has been taken and the value of what has been taken or broken and they will get their own visit and CAD number, but the individual reports will be linked back to CAD number 4797 28/11.

They could possibly pick up fingerprints off containers and tools that have been touched whilst they have been searching sheds etc. but it would require a separate visit with the shed owners. We need to try and identify just how many times they have been back since the burning of the mentally and physically handicapped schools polytunnel.

I will get an email from the local team and will pass on what information and photographs I can, including a plan of the allotment. The registration number of the bike that two youths one who climbed the fence next to the residential property has been given to the police and they will trace the owner if it's not bogus number plates but although his pillion passenger climbed over the fence committing trespass and then exited via a tree they could not blame them for the other break-ins unless other evidence could be found to prove it was them.

So if your shed gets hit and they go thorough tins bottled or have moved tools, don't tidy and clean up and touch anything until you have reported it to the police and asked if they would like to take finger prints.

Interestingly the policeman informed me that are no longer allowed to pursue escaping criminals on motor bikes as it could cause them to have an accident and possibly injure innocent bystander(s). So basically the little shits know that they can use a motorcycle for crime and get away with it!
    

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Not Quite Fort Knox


OK Fort Knox is a little bit of an exaggeration, but I bought two shed locks off ebay at £3.25 each, and today I visited the site to see if I had been hit again in the recent attacks.

Luckily I hadn't been attacked again, so only the twist in the top left corner of the door to contend with. I decided that I would put an additional lock in the corner rather than the rotating external toggle, hopefully preventing fingers getting in to apply force to the door. The horizontal bar at the top was prized away from the vertical T& G boarding. So that has been reinforced and the door screwed back together rather than nailed. 


The door shuts nice and sung again and no water can now get behind the door, and the only difference is that now I have two keyholes in the door. I also changed the lock halfway down the door so they take the same key and I don't have to have too many different keys on my key ring.

Whist on site I also managed to get the 10 sacks of leafs into Square Dalek 3 and I tried to clear to melted milk bottle off the lid,  but it had welded itself to it when the little darlings set fire to it. The watering hoses were put away as the water is now off for the winter anyway.

And the above with a couple of chats with neighbouring plot holders took the best part of four cold hours, I just don't know where the time goes when your on the allotment. My plans for also clearing the greenhouse on Mill Green will have to wait until next week.

Good news on the break-in front is that we not only have some cctv footage but also a registration number for a motorbike the scoundrels were using when they were seen hopping over the fence Friday. I'm looking forward to meeting the Parks Police with that information Monday afternoon if it can be arranged.