Allotment thefts – PLEASE LOCK THE GATES!

This message just in from Oxford and District Federation of Allotment Associations (ODFAA):

“Overnight on July 11th and 12th the Barton Allotments were targeted and several of the sheds have been broken into and numerous tools have been stolenPlease be vigilant and report any suspicious activity, vehicles and people to the police.
Please ensure that your sheds and gardens are secure and that you don’t leave tools in vehicles or on display overnight.

Any information call 101(non-emergency police) and quote crime reference 43170204779. 

Remember if there is an incident even the smallest piece of information like a registration plate from a suspicious vehicle or a physical description of a person could prove to be invaluable.

Janette, the secretary at Barton Fields has talked with both Meadham and Stihl reps and reports that they have said they have had many customers saying they have been broken into in the last couple of weeks and had machinery stolen. They and the police seem to think it is possibly an organised gang and that the machinery is being shipped abroad.””

We are still having issues with our gates being left unlocked, please ALWAYS lock them when you go in or out, even if you’re not going to be long.

Thank you.

Plot maintenance – fires, paths, seeding weeds

allotment on fire with fire brigade in attendance
Don’t let this be your plot!

This is the time of year when rampant growth has slowed, but seed-setting has begun. Please keep your weeds under control! Several plots have a lot of seedy weeds on them, which will blow onto the neighbours’ plots and attempt to infest them too. Please cut yours (if any) down and compost them, drown them in water, or burn them if you must. If burning, do make absolutely sure the fire can’t spread, and douse it with water before you leave. We recently had a fire re-ignite after the plotholders had left – it was spotted and dealt with, but we really don’t want any repeat incidents.  A good soaking should avoid this. Ideally, just compost your middle-of-the-road weeds. You can also compost the more pernicious ones (couch grass, bindweed and the rest) by drying them to death first, or soak them in a bucket of water to make a smelly but nutritious plant food for your crops instead of burning off all the good stuff.

Ragwort – poisonous to horses but great for wildlife

Great tit and cinnabar moth caterpillars on Ragwort (pic from

A few people have asked whether we should be removing all ragwort from the EWAA site as it’s supposedly a “notifiable weed”. The reason for the concern is that it can be poisonous to horses and other grazing animals, particularly when dry and included in hay bales. With no grazing animals on site other than the muntjac deer, there’s no direct risk. And as the EWAA site is well over 100m from the nearest field where horses are kept, we are in the clear regarding concerns over seed spreading to pasture land. So, there is no need to eliminate it from the allotments unless you want it off your plot. Otherwise, feel free to enjoy the stripy caterpillars.

Cinnabar moth (pic from


Onions gone all curly and weird?

Allium leaf miners have been out and about, and their burrowing larvae are distorting the growth of allium leaves (especially onions, but shallots, garlic, chives and leeks are also vulnerable) on many EWAA plots. Once they’re in, there’s unfortunately not much that can be done. Any crops uninfected so far should be OK until autumn when the next generation gets going, but from then on, it’s worth covering your alliums with fleece or fine mesh to keep them out – the moths are tiny so a tight weave is needed, netting won’t stop them. It’s also worth covering your leeks against leek moth, which does the same thing. Fleece and mesh available in the shop when you need them.

New items in shop – at low low prices!

2.1m wide Enviromesh fine mesh netting – £2.20/metre
8ft Bamboo canes – £0.40 each
7ft Bamboo canes – £0.30 each
4ft Bamboo canes – £0.20 each
700g Organic Garden Slug Killer – £5.70 each
1 litre Tomato Feed – £2.25 each
Vegetable Fertilizer – £1.30/kg
Garden Lime – £0.20/kg
10 litre Seed & Cutting Compost – £3.10 each
65 litre Tomato Growbag – £4.50 each

Woodchip pile, possible hazards

Please be careful when taking woodchips from the pile outside the gate, and supervise your children around it. We have had reports of nasty/sharp and dangerous rubbish in and around that area. We are working with the council and local police to try and reduce anti-social behaviour in the gateways and car parks, but in the meantime please be cautious and also keep those gates locked.

Lost greenhouse panel:

If has anyone found a transparent, slightly milky plastic panel (roughly 60×120 cm) that looks like it could have come off the roof of a greenhouse (blown off by the wind), could you please either put it in the greenhouse on plot 204, or let the committee know, via email or the shop. Thank you.





Dear All, please lock the gates whenever you come in and out! We are finding them open or unlocked quite often at the moment, and as there has been a bit of an issue with anti-social behaviour around the Cricket Road gates lately (not by plotholders!) we would like to keep the site as secure as we can. Please do get in touch with us at the hotmail address if you have any particular concerns.

Many thanks,

The EWAA committee

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