Sunday, August 31
August's photo album show the dull conditions - I was lucky to manage a day that was dry!
We have had a few new plot holders start work on plots this summer - they must wonder what they have let themselves in for! Anyway welcome belatedly to Denise & Martyn, Andy & Sarah, Mark & Catherine, Stephanie & Simon and Liam & Justine. Watch out as I will soon be coming round with my camera to add you to the rogues gallery.
Click here for the whole of the August diary
Thursday, August 28
- The potatoes that were affected badly by the contamination managed to grow through the problem and have a reasonable crop. Do we really want to eat them though? We have plenty more potatoes growing in beds that did not have manure applied so we are unlikely to need to eat the affected potatoes. However safe they are to eat the fact remains that herbicide residue is likely to have been absorbed into the tubers and one of the real advantages of growing your own is that you can avoid consuming unnecessary chemicals. They were planted as a soil improver anyway and in many ways we didn't expect much from them. So we have been lucky.
- The affected runner beans never really grew properly and the one or two beans that actually developed are bent and twisted.
- We planted some sweet peas in an area that had been manured and another area that hadn't. Initially both sets of sweet peas were equally good having lots of flowers with long stems and a wide colour range. After a month or so of growth the difference between the two is now significant. The lot planted in unmanured soil are continuing to produce good flowers. Those in the manured ground have small, short stemed flowers that all seem to have reverted to one colour. Each stem has two flags at the most.
- About a couple of months ago we planted some tomato plants in both the manured and unmanured areas. all initially grew very well and produced fruit. About three weeks ago the ones in the manured area suddenly developed the ferny distortions and are obviously being damage by release of the herbicide.
- We also sowed some pea seeds in the manured area. Two rows were planted about a 45 centimetres apart. One row is growing well and has developed peas. The other row is patchy with some of the plants being stunted and displaying cupped leaves. Few peas have set.
- Clumps of dried manure seem to keep being washed to the surface of the manured plots so obviously the stuff has not fully decomposed and our problems are likely to continue. It is of concern that, maybe due to the poor summer, decomposition may be slow and therefore, could the contamination persist into next season?
Tuesday, August 26
The guide covers all the subjects which will be of interest if you rent (or want to rent) an allotment.
You may have come across it before - we have had a previous post with a link to the guide - however, the guide has been updated fairly recently and so it may be worth checking whether you have the latest edition.
Click here to download a copy
Monday, August 25
In spite of the weather, blight and anything else that can be thrown at us we are managing to keep the table fully supplied.
Saturday, August 23
Thursday, August 21
Wednesday, August 20
The e-petition started by Paul Wyman is still active with over 1000 signatures. Click here to view and if you wish sign up.
Monday, August 18
Saturday, August 16
Just for clarification I'll try and briefly summarise what actually happens. On spraying, the aminopyralid binds to plant matter. This is incorporated into the manure/hay etc. When the manure/compost is mixed into the soil the plant matter gradually decomposes.
During decomposition the aminopyralid is released into the soil. It is then that it affects plants. Once released the aminopyralid breaks down into CO2 and water and it is this process that takes about three weeks.
However, the plant particles break down at different rates. Traces of aminopyralid may be in the soil for up to a year or more due to the rate of decomposition of all plant particles.
We have some tomato plants only now showing signs of distress having been planted in affected soil for months. This means that some aminopyralid is only now being released into the soil in ground that had manure applied in February. (This is really why I have little faith in testing soil samples).
If stored in a heap decomposition is slower as the plant material isn't subjected to soil bacteria and unless the heap is turned it will become anaerobic and no decomposition will take place or it will slow down. I hope I have explained that OK.
GW had to cut out a lot of the content that they filmed during their visit as the programme last night had to fit in so much but I just hope it managed to reach some people who don't have internet access and haven't read anything in any newspapers. Please keep spreading the information among your gardening friends to try and prevent more of them becoming victims.
Friday, August 15
I looked up the definitions of organic material and organic gardening and found the following:
That seemed to be sort of what I expected. OK herbicides aren’t actually mentioned but surely they will come under the same banner as pesticides. So it is impossible - organic products can't be the source of any herbicide contamination! Think again - click here to read what I have so far found out about 'organic' garden products.
Please add to the comments if you have any more information on this subject.
Thursday, August 14
Wednesday, August 13
Tuesday, August 12
Maggie took on her plot in Featherstone in June so her allotment days have just started. Click here to view her photos
Karl and young son Archie acquired their plot in Normanton at the end of March so they even managed to be productive this year. Click here to see their photos and Karl's journal of his first few months of allotmenting with three year old Archie.
Thanks to both of them for taking the trouble to send us their photos and accompanying text. This year hasn't been the best year to dip toes into the 'grow your own' world let's hope they have many more prouctive years to come!
We have lots of visitors from the USA - so what about one of you sending us some infomation about your plot?
Monday, August 11
Sunday, August 10
If no challengers come forward he will also be named winner of the largest sunflower head. Remember the plants judged must have been grown from competition seed! Ron says that the measurers judged the sunflower to be 2.44m or 8 feet tall but it looks taller than that to me - can we have confirmation of this please?
Ron's prize is a luxury week in the Bahamas with Molly or maybe we will have to think again as Molly hasn't a passport.
Saturday, August 9
Tuesday, August 5
The letter that I received said:
"On this occasion there have been more applications than money available, and we have had to make choices about which projects to fund. We did this by considering how well the project meets our aims and priorities".
Anybody any other ideas? It seems a shame that applications aren't carried forward to another date as the only way is to reapply is to try and sort of guess which time of year there may be less applications.
It seems that the bottom line (not just with Awards for All) is that fences are not by their very nature inclusive and funders prefer projects that are accessible rather than those that try and exclude people (even thieves and vandals). The other problem is that gardening isn't a sport nor does it belong to the arts - both areas also fairly popular with funders.
You could be forgiven for thinking our peas had also fallen victim and had, had their hormones interfered with in some bizarre way. It’s not their shape though that is out of the ordinary but the colour. People generally expect their tomatoes and beetroot to be red, their carrots to be orange, and their peas to be green. Not on our plot! We have yellow carrots, white and yellow beetroot, all manner of coloured tomatoes and peas in purple pods.
Click here to read more
Monday, August 4
Sunday, August 3
Now the rest of the plot needs sorting out AGAIN.
Thanks to all involed in the work and a special thanks to GEOfabrics Limited for helping us out!
Click here for the rest of the story so far.
The photo below is a taster. Merci Odette!
Last year Odette also sent us (well I think she sent her husband out on a mission) some photos of an allotments site in Castres click here . Castres, where Odette lives, is one of Wakefield's twin towns. We'd love some photos from other parts of the world too so if you live in another part of the world why not send us some photos and a bit of information about your garden or vegetable plot too. Just email to the link on the sidebar! It's easy.
Saturday, August 2
The publicity given to this problem is obviously alerting people to the problem as we have had a couple of visits from nearby allotment holders and gardeners asking for more detail.