Sunday, June 29
Bubbleshare albums are being converted to Picasa as soom as possible. Bubbleshare will cease to exist from Novemeber 11 2009
The June photoshoot took place yesterday whilst we had a gap in the periods of rain - hardly summer sunshine though! Click here for June diary and larger photos.
Friday, June 27
Today a new pedestrian gate was installed at the top corner entrance. It may need a bit of tweaking but it is phase two completed in our security improvements. Anyone any idea of a funding stream that could help with providing disabled access? To read more about phase two plans click here.
Do you suspect that contamination has come via other sources - such as the use of potting compost? One visitor thinks this has happened to him.
Thursday, June 26
I asked some of the questions that have come up on our site and also in emails to me.
Answers to these questions are given on our web page. The page has lots of information so you will need to scroll down quite a way before reaching the infomation. Click here
The Dow person that I spoke to has said that he will check our website for accuracy and will get back to me if there are any mistakes, problems, additional information that we can add.
I just wish government agencies were as helpful. It appears that we allotment gardeners inhabit a grey area and no-one seems to know who should look into our problems.
Wednesday, June 25
Tuesday, June 24
Both the above sent long replies but neither answered either of the two questions. Instead I was given the following information. Apparently rotovating or digging helps decomposition and will mean that soil recovers quicker. To do this we would need to remove crops affected or not wouldn't we? Apparently once the residue is released by the decaying straw etc. It remains in the soil for something like four weeks before it breaks down to mainly carbon dioxide and water, during which time it affects sensitive plants (remember everything except the grass family). Apparently it is difficult to check soil for contamination and it is suggested that we test the soil periodically by planting sensitve crops!
Apparently the aminopyralid could even have been applied in 2006 and been sitting around in heaps of sileage or manure so tracking the source is difficult. Also apparently the supply of manure to allotments is a grey area and doesn't seem to come within anyone's responsibility.
PSD suggest that "The supply of the manure will probably be covered by contract law and possibly also by consumer protection and trading standards legislation". But how do we find out who is responsible for poisoning our crops?
Our plot holders are devastated to see not only the fruits of all their hard work going to waste but they have also spent a considerable amount of money not only on seeds and plants but in one person's case bought a polytunnel that he has filled with tomatoes and every one are affected. We also have to pay rental for plots which in effect this year have been to some extent unusable. Also this is in conjunction with quickly rising costs of fresh fruit and vegetables and no-one seems to be able to decide who is responsible for this breakdown in the information chain. It seems that efficacy of weed management is being put ahead of public safety or some consumer interests.
Please keep any information that you find out coming. Only today two people emailed me to say their sites or gardens were suspected victims. Sandwell and Birminham councils have banned the use of horse manure on all of their allotments sites! One person even suspected a bag of compost. I'll keep updating the website click here with information. If you email me please let me know whether you give permission for the contents of your email to be published on the web. Photos of crops that have been confirmed to be affected (we have plenty of ones of tomatoes and potatoes thank you) would be also appreciated. To help others to diagnose problems.
So far it boils down to we should have asked a question that we didn't know we had to ask and the supplier should have answered the question not having the necessary information to give a correct answer. Make sense? - confused? - join the club. Please post a comment to let me know what you think.
Monday, June 23
A rose between two thorns? Councillor Denise Jeffery -Deputy Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Culture and Sport paid us a call and is seen here with two of the Assocation committee members Jan and Martyn.
Unfortunately Denise had to be whisked away to open something but had time to admire Pat and Joe's peas! Denise also left with some light bedtime reading all about Green Lane Allotments.
Saturday, June 21
So far very few people that I have contacted have got back t me but thanks to the Yorkshire Post for publishing and article today. Click here to read (Let us know if you read it by posting a comment in the comments area of this post).
Looks so innocent doesn't it but make sure you know the full history of any manure that you buy!
Friday, June 20
I emailed the RHS to enquire what the possible effects were on fruit bushes and perennials and had this advice.
"I imagine, as with other types of weedkiller damage, that the more established fruit bushes and trees will survive. Once the contaminated manure is in the soil, the breakdown of aminopyralid is much faster so affected trees and shrubs are likely to show signs of growing out of the problem by the following season. Raspberries do tend to be more sensitive to hormonal weedkillers than other fruit so they may show the worst symptoms. Perennial plants may too look badly hit but I think it is worth leaving them in the ground until the following year to see if they show signs of recovery".
It may interest you to know that none of the government departments that I have emailed have made any response.
Wednesday, June 18
Use the following links to read information although much has already been given on this blog.
If you have any contact with anyone who uses manure then please make them aware of the problem.
Tuesday, June 17
Our problem seems to be worsening as more crops appear to be falling victim.
To help you try to determine whether you have been affected I have taken more photographs of what we think are affected crops. If we are unfortunate enough to have more crop victims I will add to the photos. At the moment it appears that the main victims are potatoes, tomatoes and beans, although we have a newly planted rhubarb that doesn't look to great! Please post a comment if you think you have been affected too.
Click here to view larger album
The problem has raised a lot of questions which I would be grateful if anyone reading this can help answer.
- The manufacturer states that any manure resulting from sileage treated with the herbicide should not be used in horticulture. How is it that this information seems to rely upon word of mouth to pass down the supply line? Or am I mistaken.
- If no-one can confirm that affected crops are safe to eat then why aren't the regulations regarding it's use more stringent?
- If no-one can confirm that affected crops are safe to eat then is the milk and meat from livestock that is fed the affected sileage safe?
- What effect does the herbicide residue have of beneficial insects such as bees and ladybirds - or for that matter on any insect?
If you are in the know and can answer any of my questions please use the comments area to provide us with answers. At the moment plot holders see their hard work and not insubstantial amount of money coming to nothing - we need some sort of reassurance.
Monday, June 16
The label of the herbicide specifically states that manure from beasts fed or bedded on treated crops should not be used for horticultural crops – so something has badly slipped. The Pesticide Safety Directorate is on the case.
They go on to say that the weedkiller in the soil should dissipate by next year, but in stacks of contaminated manure it may take two or more years to decay. Any left-over manure should be returned to sender if possible for spreading on grass or corn. The RHS Press Office is to issue a press release shortly and also information about the problem will be placed on the RHS website - click here to view. Thanks to the RHS for their speedy response.
The damage so far on our plots appears to be to potatoes (although some runner beans in the offending area on our plot appear to be suffering), and it is patchy i.e. not all land where the manure was spread has affected potatoes as yet. Click here to view photos of affected potatoes. Some of us have noted that the damaged crops are growing on the piece of land where the manure was stacked and wonder if this means that the rain has washed the substance through the stack so that the concentration in this area is heavier than elsewhere.
This has really knocked our confidence in using more manure. The farmer supplying manure won't necessarily know what herbicide has been used of the sileage or bedding that he buys so how would we be able to ensure that we didn't fall victim to dodgy muck again? Please let us know if you have suffered something similar by posting a comment.
Sunday, June 15
One highlighted of the week has been to gather our first two punnets of strawberries - they were delicious.
Friday, June 13
Has anyone else noticed any strange or poor growth associated with beds that have been manured?
Thursday, June 12
Wednesday, June 11
Tuesday, June 10
Monday, June 9
The only blot on the horizon is that someone doesn't really appreciate what the bays are for and has already dumped something in one of the bays - please don't!
The bays are to be used for wood chippings and horse/cow manure ONLY!
Sunday, June 8
Once completed we hope to plant one or two shrubs under the pussy willow tree - just to make it look nice!
The side adjacent to the roadway will be edged using scaffolding boards to prevent the chippings from slipping away. Once this is completed we will think about constructing the raised beds. Ideally we would like a type of gazebo (anyone know where we can get a decent sized one very cheaply?) on the plot to provide shelter for meetings or gatherings during times when the weather is too wet or (ever the optimist - well I was until this week anyway) too sunny. By the way Jan - don't forget to pop up Pat's signs!!!
Click here for the story so far
Saturday, June 7
- The focus of Association activity
- The level of support that is provided by your local council
- Barriers that prevent your Association following your aims
- Attitudes of plot holders towards your group
- What it is that makes your Association successful
- Any other issues that are worth sharing.
Please use the email link if you wish to make direct contact or maybe you could post something in the comments area of the this post so we can share thoughts generally.
I am interested in the experiences of any UK Association but would be particluarly interested to make contact with those based in Wakefield.