It is fantastic that we can visit our allotments and keep growing while the lock down continues. I am based on Scarcroft allotments and here are some nature notes of what I and other people have been seeing on the site. No doubt similar wildlife will be turning up on allotments all over York. It would be great if people’s sightings could be recorded on this Butterfly Conservation website. Even the smallest bug or worm will have a part to play and an interesting life cycle. Now we have a bit more time to stand and stare, check out what lives in your compost bin, amongst the leaf litter or what birds are visiting your plot. I’ll start off with some butterfly updates.
Butterflies on Scarcroft have come out of hibernation, so spring is definitely coming. As the next few days will be chilly so we may not see them but keep a look out when it warms up again. In my garden and on the allotment last week, I have seen lots of Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies and a couple of Brimstones. More information can be found on the Butterfly Conservation website https://butterfly-conservation.org/butterflies
Both the Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies lay their eggs on nettles so if you have some in a sunny position don’t dig them up, just keep an eye open for eggs and caterpillars. The Brimstone’s food plant is Alder Buckthorn which I have on my allotment and I did once have their green caterpillars on it so fingers crossed for this year.
Another fairly early butterfly I haven’t seen yet is the Orange Tip, the name is a bit of a clue and the males have lovely orange ends to their wings. One of their food plants is Jack by the Hedge or Garlic Mustard which is found along our paths and on some allotments.
The following advice incorporates new guidelines set out by the National Allotment Society on 31st March 2020
The government is presently advising the population to stay at home and practice social distancing, whilst being allowed to take one form of exercise a day. If working your allotment is to carry on being seen as legitimate exercise then it is imperative that plot-holders follow all the guidelines, allotment sites are as risky as anywhere else
It is vitally important that you follow all the advice about social distancing and hygiene in the points below and not gather together on site.
Any plot-holder who is self isolating because a household member is ill with corona-virus should not be visiting the site.
It is essential that no un-authorised people are allowed onto the plots for the duration of this emergency,
Keep hand sanitiser in your shed and wash your hands regularly
Use hand sanitiser before opening and after closing any gate locks
Wash hands when you get home
DO NOT gather together in groups for a chat even if you are 2 metres apart.
Observe “Social Distancing” with each other 2-3 metres
If you take your children to the plot, ensure that they stay within its confines and do not run around on communal paths and spaces.
Do not share tools
Minimise the contact with each other for example no handshakes
Do not wash your hands in water troughs
We recommend that all communal facilities are closed
If you display any symptoms of coronavirus stay at home and self-isolate for at least 14 days or until symptoms have passed.
We are delighted to be able to share this document, produced by Prof Ross Wilson, currently of Nottingham University, on the subject of the history of the allotments in York. There is a wealth of information here about many of our sites, as well as other non-YACIO sites, many of which are still in existence.
Thank you to Prof Wilson for allowing us to share this with you all: