Sunday, 13 October 2019

Wet Weather Work for the Allotment

When the weather is so bad that you can't get down on the allotment and do anything productive then you have to fall back to what you can do for the allotment. The seeds are now dry and need bagging up.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Ryobi Battery Operated Soldering Iron

Introducing the 1st 18v Soldering Iron into the Ryobi One+ family of tools. As the R18SOI-0 forms part of the One Plus range it can run off your existing 18v Batteries or you can purchase additional batteries and chargers

The R18SOI is the ideal tool for automotive and craft applications due to its compact size and has a cable length of 83cm to give you plenty of maneuverability. 

What Ryobi had not thought off is that it's actually ideal for allotment holders who want to cut/weld weed membrane sheets on their allotments. I have been thinking about how I was going to deal with cutting the weed membrane for the Dalek army when I move all the daleks into the area along the boundary between Plots 1 & 2. I now have the perfect solution to the problem.  

It is capable of reaching 480°C in approximately 50 seconds. The pencil grip has been designed to provide user comfort and precision control. A fully charged 5.0Ah Battery will give 180 minutes of power 

This model features an LED light to indicate the status of when the tool is heating up and cooling down.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Amendment to the Draft Parks Strategy

Received on the 10th October 3 days before the end of the extended consultation period from one of the Neighbourhood Managers 

Dear Site Reps 

thank you for your feedback regarding bonfires on the allotment sites following the feedback gathered please see the amendment to the draft parks strategy. If you wish to raise any concerns regarding the proposal please respond to the neighborhood services email address by the 13th October.

Policy P22
From 1st January 2020 open bonfires are not allowed on the council’s allotment sites. However waste material that cannot be disposed of by composting or other means may be burned in an incinerator or clean oil drum during the period 1st October to 15th March.  Fires should not be lit more than 2 hours before dusk and are not permitted on Bank Holidays during this period. Material that is damp or green must not be burnt until it dries out fully. See the allotment Gardeners Guidelines for more information on how to dispose of material without burning and never burn materials such as plastics that may cause pollution.

Note that by law you could be fined if you light a fire and allow the smoke to drift across the road and become a danger to traffic.  If you cause a nuisance by frequently having fires or allowing smoke to drift into neighbouring properties the Council can issue an ‘abatement notice’ and you can be fined up to £5,000 if you do not comply with the notice.  In addition, failure to abide by this policy will result in termination of the allotment agreement. 

 This Policy supersedes the guidance in Version 6 - 2018 of the Allotment Gardeners Guidelines.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Wedding Stops Play

No Allotment this weekend as Emma & Andy'd big day has finally arrived 

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Woodchips for Paths

Many moons ago I found a web site Arbtalk set up to put Tree Surgeons in contact will people including allotment plot holders who are looking for woodchip for their paths or if very leafy to use as a mulch on their plots. 

I should have asked the driver to back up a little more as half of the load went on my plot and the other half went on the communal path (see top two photos) So whilst I was waiting for him to bring back a second load to go into the drop off and pick up area for anyone else who may need woodchip's on the site, I shovelled the heap off the path as much as possible. I so love the plastic shovels for doing the kind of thing so light weight and easy to use for a long time. 

Next week weather permitting I will eat into the pile from the main path side and start wheel barrowing it along the path between myself and my neighbour to form a margin to the kerb stones I put in a couple of weeks ago. 

Second load in the drop off and pick up area for all on the site to share 

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Fires on Allotments - My Preferred Option

Following my article about Bonfires on Allotments are a contentious issue and the research I did over a number of Allotment Facebook groups that I sent to Mark Dalzell the Head of Parks and Open Spaces for the London Borough of Sutton I received an email in reply that said 

"Thank you for this comprehensive round up of all the options.  Which of these options do you think do you think would reduce the likelihood of nuisance complaints and what is your preferred option?"  

Here was my reply:-

From you initial email it would appear that you favour more limited months of burning, the main problem with this as I see it is that Idverde have not performed I have now been waiting for 8 weeks for them to send out invites to the next two people on the waiting list and currently according to their figures issued after the meeting and not before as promise last year there are 124 people (See here) on the waiting list with plots waiting for them to view NOW. And we have been informed that no invites will be sent out until they have processed the invoices.

Because Idverde were late and did not process the no cults and notices to quit in a timely fashion we have many plots in the borough that are now extremely overgrown so key to preventing a massive burn is to keep Idverde on track with the service they should be providing and aren’t. and to get new plot holders on overgrown and vacant sites as soon as possible. Let’s prevent the cause of most of the problems first before dealing with the symptoms

Ideally we (Parks Team and Site Reps) should make any decision about reducing the time more than we have at the moment based on the information re timing and magnitude of the complaints from environmental health over the last five years, once you have acquired and shared them.

Because people on the waiting list are unlike to get an offer, meet the rep and view, complete the paperwork and if they are lucky get a key in less than 4 weeks which is the longest ldverde have taken so far to supply a new tenant with a key. It is likely that they will need the period between December and the end of February if one was going to consider restricting fires to October, November and March.

I would suggest that this year we look at improving knowledge and educations and the guidance within the Allotment Gardening Guide and I attach the first draft of a replacement page for the Guide that I have created and uploaded onto the Site Reps Facebook Group for comment. I have suggested that once agreed we place this on notice boards ASAP. I I have assumed some actions that we can take to improve the situation, but these need to be considered and discussed and agreed upon i.e.

That large and open fires be banned and that we insist that incinerators or clean oil drums are used as they help keep a fire hot and reduce smoke emissions.

At the moment I have said ideally that fires should be started no earlier than 2 hours before dusk as this allows for an reasonable period of time to burn on site and stay to watch that the fire is out before leaving. Currently we don’t provide and restriction on what time of day fires can be set.

I suggest that we agree as soon as possible as we are now into fire burning season that the guidance I have created be distributed and placed on gates and notice boards.

That the Allotment Gardening Guide is updated with respect to fires and the other necessary amendments

Historically as newsletter used to be sent out with the invoices, I wonder could the bonfire guidance be sent out with the invoices this year?

That we monitor the situation this year and concentrate on educating the plot holders, and that we review the situation in April 2020 and discuss as a group at next year’s annual meeting if we actually need to restrict the burning period further.  

Dig For Victory - Making A Compost Heap

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Good Bonfire Guidelines

Bonfires are currently banned on allotment sites from
1st April to 30th September.

Sutton Council are considering banning fires completely on Allotments.

Your Site Reps have protested as there is a legitimate need for the use of fires on allotments. Local Councillors and the Park team have listened and are currently looking at how we can improve and reduce complaints, and not have a total ban on bonfires.

Thus it's important that every plot holder be considerate and follow the Good Bonfire Guidelines below and reduce the amount of complaints so that we may continue to have fires without further restrictions or a total ban.

·         Remember to check for hibernating hedgehogs and sleeping pets!
·         Large Open Fires Not Allowed only Incinerators or Oil Drums to be used.
·         Allotment Fires are Only for Allotment Debris Do Not bring items from home
·         Ideally start your fire 2 hours before Dusk
·         No Fires On Bank Holidays
·         Avoid lighting in unsuitable weather conditions.
·         Avoid burning when the wind will carry the smoke over roads or into other people’s property
·         Be Considerate to your neighbours - have they windows open or washing on the line, if so don’t light the fire
·         Only burn dry material that is clean e.g. not oily or painted
·         Never burn household rubbish, rubber or anything containing plastic, foam or paint.
·         Never use old engine oil, mentholated spirits or petrol to light the fire or to encourage it.
·         Keep the fire small and hot and feed it a little at a time to maintain the heat - this minimises smoke emissions. If the fire is kept hot a large amount of material can be burnt in a short time. In this way a fire should last no longer than an hour
·         Never leave the fire unattended or leave it to smoulder – douse it with water, sand or soil if necessary. 

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, it is an offence to emit smoke, fumes or gases which are a nuisance. Allowing smoke to drift over nearby roads may also lead to prosecution under the Highways (Amendment) Act 1986 if it endangers traffic. Remember that smoke from bonfires can be annoying to neighbours, ruining their enjoyment of their gardens, and preventing them from opening windows and hanging out their washing. Bonfires can damage the health of children, the elderly and those with asthma and other breathing problems. Continuing to cause a nuisance in this way could lead to termination of your agreement. Please consider other ways to dispose of your rubbish.