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.
Low Moor Allotments Community Kid’s Allotment is located at the bottom of Kilburn Road, just by the allotment car park. The Kid’s Allotment has been running for 15 years and has received many awards. It is organised by volunteers and the sessions are staffed by these volunteers and parents on a rota.
There are currently 12 members, aged between 6 and 12 years and sessions run weekly on a Saturday morning from 10am til 12noon between March and the end of October. Members pay £1 per session.
During the session the children are helped to garden the allotment: growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers. Whilst work has to be done, they make it fun! Produce is shared out after harvesting and brought home.
This year there are a number of vacancies for new members. For more information or to register your child’s interest please contact Angela Johnson: email@example.com
Plot inspections have recently taken place across most sites. Some tenants will have received a letter from us telling them that they need to improve the condition of their plot. But what does this mean? We ask that at least 25% of a plot is cultivated as set out below.
The tenant must demonstrate that they are maintaining their plot in a cultivatable state. This means that they are:
making every effort to control weed growth
preparing the soil for sowing or planting
planting out new crops during the growing season or maintaining perennials such as fruit bearing shrubs or trees
The use of weed suppressant covering by tenants is permitted in the following circumstances:
to prepare an overgrown plot for cultivation (weed suppressant coverings should not normally be in place for more than 12 months)
on a temporary basis for small areas of the plot (not exceeding 50% of the total area) not currently being used for growing
in the event of a prolonged absence, either due to illness or circumstances beyond the plot holders control, larger proportions of covering are permitted providing the tenant makes arrangements for YACIO to be notified.
In conjunction with a nationally exhibited photographer Dan May, we’re looking to start a project photographing allotment holders and their plots. The aim is to provide a record of York allotments and the people who cultivate them in 2018 and, hopefully, stage an exhibition of the photographs in the city later this year.
Dan is keen to meet allotment holders old and new and hear their stories and record them in photographs. He would particularly like to hear from groups of plotholders or meet those with more ‘unusual’ plots or allotment stories. Dan is a professional photographer and will ensure all photos are taken with consent. All photos taken will also be available for YACIO to use for promotional purposes.
If you or perhaps a group of plotholders or an allotment association would like to be involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
You may already have heard about the Bloom Festival taking place in York between 5th and 8th July.
York Allotments (YACIO) will be participating at two events. The first is the Shambles Flower Market on Sunday 8th July where we will have a stall to promote allotments in the city. We need helpers to staff the stall, if you can help, even for just an hour or two please email email@example.com
We are also able to sell surplus allotment produce from the stall. If you’ve a glut of anything that would otherwise go to waste please also let us know. All monies raised will support allotment good causes.
The second Bloom event we’re involved in, along with Edible York, is an Edible Gardening Question Time. This will take place on Thursday 5th July at Bootham School. Doors open from 6pm for light refreshments, question time beginsat 7pm.
The event will be chaired by former BBC gardening presenter Wil Jenkyn with a panel of four experienced local allotment holders ready to answer your questions. If you’ve any tricky growing problems on the plot this is a chance to get some expert advice.