Page 4 - ALG Issue 4 2019
P. 4

What a wet summer! I know it rains
in Manchester, but really. The tubs
are full, the ground is wet, the plants love it – but the blight is back. Ah well, there is always next season, and we might get an Indian Summer – a hot dry late August and September through to early October. Some places have
had wonderful weather, I believe. Stop moaning, at least you did not have to water a lot!
Do you often have conversations with yourself? I do, but then I always have.
One conversation I have had followed on from a member’s request about Health and Safety. Not the most riveting topic, but a necessary one. Does your site have a Health and Safety Policy? It should have, particularly
if it is self-managed. How often do
you do a site walk? How often do you remind members to wind up hoses (trip-hazard); to remove overhanging branches (danger to eyes); to trim the grass near flag paths (slip hazard). Does your site ‘lend’ equipment – a real management issue requiring maintenance, training, and some expertise? If you were to consider all the potential pitfalls, it is amazing
that anyone would consider having an allotment. But then we do. Remember
health and safety is all about managing the risk factor and lessening its impact if, and it’s a big IF, something goes wrong.
Another conversation this summer began with a rumour. They’re great, aren’t they? A small tale travels about the site and grows in the telling. Someone saw something on Facebook, a break-in on a site, the miscreants were challenged, a dispute began, and the police were called, they arrived, and people were taken into custody. Some members thought it was on our site, or a site nearby, but in reality, the site is in a different part of the country and many miles away. Rumours are sometimes based on fact and may need to be checked out.
I mentioned training for loaning equipment; we can do that with LANTRA, or you can do that for yourselves with the e-learning courses. The NAS set up a very good control
of rodent’s course which was well received, and we are thinking of the next course on ‘PESTICIDES’. These are the face-to-face courses with a trainer in
a mutually convenient venue. Further information will be sent out soon, but
it would be better if you were to look at the LANTRA courses and tell us which
A small tale travels about the site and grows in the telling. Rumours are sometimes based on fact and may need to be checked out.
courses you think should be prioritised by the NAS. Courses can be done nationally or regionally depending on demand.
In late September, I was in Crewe talking to The Council for Rural England and spreading the ‘gospel of allotments’. I encourage all members to continue this ‘missionary’ work, particularly with the large number
of house-building schemes going on throughout the country – more houses equal more allotments. More research is being done on the therapeutic value of growing your own in a community setting. The evidence is there that growing plants benefits the individual; having and using a garden also benefits the local wildlife, the suburban gardens of Britain are haven for all manner of creatures. But that little derelict weed patch could harbour cinnabar moths.
Remember tidy allotments are good
– slightly messy ones could be better – but allotments with dedicated wildlife patches are best. Allotments feed the body and they also feed the mind and given half a chance they will feed the soul.
John Irwin Chair
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4 Allotment and Leisure Gardener

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