Many people have an allotment primarily to grow produce, as well as creating a sanctuary to escape to while making new friends. But wildlife plays an important part of any allotment site. With urban cities like Cardiff seeing a big drop in it’s local wildlife due to development and changing lifestyles it’s important to think about the critters and animals who we may be sharing our plots with. Allotments play a huge part in supporting wildlife in urban areas, often they create links between tracks, hedgerows, parks and rivers. And aside from the help some of them give us by assisting with pollination and pest control there are things we, as plot-holders, can do to help keep this eco-system balanced.

  • If you have room on your plot, set aside a bit of room to plant some nectar rich flowers to help attract pollinators. Many crops rely on pollinators; apple, plum and pear trees rely up to 85% on pollinators, 85% for runner beans and similar beans, cucumbers have a 60% reliance, pumpkins up to 85% to name a few and remember that honeybees pollinate an estimated 35% of UK crops.
  • Try and reduce your usage of chemicals if you don’t already, eliminating their usage if you’re able to.
    • Lure ladybirds to your plot by planting some dill, carrots, celery, parsley and fennel and when the ladybirds come each one will eat up to 60 insects a day including aphids, leaf hoppers, mealy bugs, mites and others.
    • We know you can’t have a hose on site but if you’re able to bring a spray bottle to spray the bugs off, they rarely climb back on.
    • You’ll see a lot less slugs and snails if you place broken egg shells around the base of your crops, if growing in pots wrap some copper tape around the middle of your pot and try some companion gardening; fennel and rosemary are great slug deterrents.
    • Try making your own natural pesticides, take a look here for some good recipes.
  • Try creating some homes for the wildlife; bee boxes, small stone and log piles for insects, compost for slow worms, nesting boxes for birds.
  • If you bring children onto the site make sure they know the importance of looking after the wildlife.
  • And like we’ve said before, chat to your neighbours and fellow plot holders to see if they have any tips of their own, and check out our companion planting guide below.

 

When planting the above companion plants, try when possible to plant them in pots to avoid them taking over the plot, especially mint.

Please note we’ve added this information to our Allotment Tips page as well.

The Health and Safety Executive are running a survey until the end of May 2019 asking gardeners and allotment holders to anonymously let them know about their purchase, use, storage and disposal of pesticides. As mentioned the survey is anonymous and wants to encourage people to give honest answers to get a better understanding about how people are using pesticides and is run every three years.

You can view results of their previous surveys here and if you want to complete the latest survey about pesticides then head here. And the HSE will give you the option when completing the survey to go into a draw to win one of ten £50 National Garden Gift Vouchers.*

 

* The draw for the garden vouchers will be run independently by the Horticultural Trades Association, who will issue the vouchers.

The National Allotment Society (NSALG) is a huge organisation with one focus; allotments. Specifically helping to provide, promote and preserve UK allotments. They work with all levels of governments in the UK, along with a range of other organisations and landlords to ensure they can do this. Since 2011 His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is the patron of the society.

Aside from offering members support, advice and guidance, they have a host of other benefits for members including; Allotmenteers Liability Insurance, Allotment and Leisure Gardener magazine sent quarterly, £25 cashback on home and car insurance, membership to the Kings Seed Discount program offering up to 62.5% discount on seeds and a £5 voucher for new members, exclusive discounts at Reedy garden supplies, birdfood.co.uk, Moonshine Plant Boosters, RHS plants and lots more.

Membership for an individual is only £23, click here for more information and to join.

Wind & Weather

The weather over the last week has been pretty atrocious with wind gusts up to 50mph. As our allotments are pretty high up and exposed, it may be worth visiting your plot when weather allows, if you haven’t already, to check if you have any damage. If you do go up while it’s windy, please be careful of any items which could be blown though the air. And if you spot any damage to your plot, do your best to clear it while ensuring your safety. And if you spot any serious damage to plots other than your own, please let the committee know. Below you’ll see weather for the next 7 days (if you’re viewing this article on a computer) or today’s weather if you’re on a mobile or tablet, so keep an eye on the weather and keep safe. 🙂

Allotment WEATHER

It seems we have to send another reminder to plot holders about disposing of rubbish on site. Again people are having to clear rubbish which has been dumped on the site which should have been removed by the people who created it. We provide facilities for people to dispose of scrap metal and green waste; you can leave your green waste under the trees opposite plots 121 and 10 and you can also leave any scrap metal under the tree opposite plot 119B (see the map for more details)

ALL other waste including plastics, bin bags, food packaging, wood, broken tools etc MUST be taken off site. The committee have to spend a lot of money each year removing this waste from the site and it’s money which could be going towards items and facilities which plot holders would find more beneficial. Rubbish removal is clearly outlined in the tenancy agreement all plot holders agree to, and anyone caught fly tipping on site would potentially find their tenancy at risk. The nearest waste centre is at Lamby Way where you can dispose of non recycling waste as well as other materials (see here for more information).

If you require any more information, please contact a member of the committee.

Thank you.

 

National allotment week is an annual event set up by the National Allotment Society and has been going since 2002. The national event is to raise awareness of “allotments and the role they play in helping people to live healthier lifestyles, grow their own food, develop friendships and bolster communities.”

The Allotment Society say “This year’s campaign week theme is “Shared Harvest” celebrating the fact that plot-holders share their crops with family, friends, colleagues and worthy causes, including food banks. Each plot in the UK can benefit up to 8 people!”

Keep an eye out for events relating to this closer to the time and check out all the information on the Allotment Society website