Page 37 - ALG Issue 4 2019
P. 37

                                                                 news from europe
Biodiversity on European Allotments
  The national Federations and the International Office believe that ecological gardening is good for both the gardener’s health and for nature.
A study made in Germany highlighted that on allotments you find 59 varieties of fruit, whereas there are only 30 cultivated professionally. On allotments you find 114 varieties of vegetables, whereas there are only 35 cultivated professionally. There are also 22.4 plants per 100sqm in allotments and only 0.5 in urban parks.
On behalf of the central federation
of allotment gardeners, a three-year biodiversity study has been taking place for two years in 40 gardens in the four most important climate zones of Vienna. The focus is on the survey of trees, shrubs, perennials, vegetables and herbs (except for lawn, wet biotopes and potted plants) as well as on bugs, cicadas and phytopathogenic fungi. The gardens were checked and sampled several times a year. It was interesting to note that, depending
on the climate area, between 172
and 250 plant species or genera from up to 82 plant families were found
in the gardens. Among the plant pathogens, there was even a worldwide first description, a Peronospora
Albugo Brévia (Mildew), named the ‘Asteromella forsythiae Bedlan’ which was found in the 14th communal
district of Vienna. Additionally, there was a first finding of an already known fungal disease for Austria, and several first findings for Vienna. For the bugs and cicadas found and determined up to now, it turned out that around 56% of the domestic country bug families living in Austria and around 50% of the domestic cicada families can be found on our allotments. The evaluation and assessment of the results will probably not be available until 2019.
The allotment gardeners from Upper-Austria also took part in a bird-counting action in order to find out about the feathered guests on their allotments. At the end of April 2018, 19 allotment garden associations followed the call to count the birds in their allotment gardens. “Birds are indispensable for allotment gardens” described chairman Franz Riederer
of the big success of the initiative. As in the previous year the tree sparrow, the blackbird and the Great Tit have been the most seen in Upper-Austrian allotment gardens. But the Blue
Tit, collared dove and the Western Greenfinch have been diligently reported by the bird counters. “The findings fit perfectly into the picture of Austrian gardens – these very common garden birds could be found in the allotment gardens too” according to Benjamin Seaman, bird watcher from BirdLife.
The birds flock to the allotment gardens of the associations Traiskirchen, St. Pölten ‘ASGV-Stattersdorf’ and St.
The more bird species that are observed in the allotment garden, the more valuable it is for the fauna
Pölten ‘Kollerberg’, because there
you could find the highest biodiversity. In Traiskirchen there even were 20 different bird species! A special ‘eye candy’ were the five goldfinches there
– with their colourful feathers they are always an absolute eye-catcher. These flashy birds are also called ‘thistle finch’ because of their food preference for thistles. They feel especially comfortable in gardens that have many wild herbs and shrubs. But generally speaking, birds are always an indicator for an intact environment.
According to the Bird protection organisation Birdlife, “The more
bird species that are observed in the allotment garden, the more valuable it is for the fauna.”
With a few measures, you can attract birds to your allotment and enjoy them the whole year round. Our animal ‘subtenants’ fly to natural, diverse gardens with many native shrubs, hedges and fruit trees. Also, nesting boxes can be attached and in winter a bird feeding station can be put up. Then, birdwatching from your own garden door will be possible all year long.
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Buy Rainsavers, IBCs, Water Butts and Taps from stock. Take a look at our online shop for Fittings.
Plastic Storage Drums —
New Food grade, waterproof for general garden storage or
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                    Collection or nationwide delivery available.
Or telephone on 01594 833308 for more information.
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                Allotment and Leisure Gardener 37
The membership magazine for the National Allotment Society Issue 2 • 2019
Lantra l Aaron Hickman
On the Kings plot l NAS holiday Let's talk allotments l Pollinators

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