Each year, many of us are lucky enough to have surplus produce even if some of our crops fail or underperform, despite our best efforts. Sometimes we pass neighbouring plots where fruit or vegetables are wasting on the site. In recent months during lockdown, many of us will have experienced for the first time what it is to go without essential foodstuffs – perhaps not being able to get eggs, or milk, or dried yeast for baking, or a range of other staples.
For some people in our city however, poverty means that family incomes are not sufficient to buy what is needed. In recent months food banks across the country have struggled to keep stock levels up. Homelessness has also presented additional challenges in lockdown.
This year, consider the possibility of donating surplus produce that would otherwise go to waste or is not needed to a neighbouring local organisation – The Porch. http://www.theporch.org.uk/ The Porch does an amazing job providing meals for the homeless and vulnerable and would be very grateful for our donations. They have confirmed that they would be delighted to receive donations of excess produce from allotments in the area. As they are based just around the corner from our allotments in Magdalen Road, donations could be dropped off on any day.
The growing season is now well underway. In the warmer weather, water use across the site is at peak demand. Additional water troughs were installed last year which means that during hot weather, more water is being drawn from our system than ever before, although we have the same incoming supply. So we now have more troughs, but they are taking longer to fill when all are being drawn from.All members are expected to refill the water trough they are using after use. This is a non-negotiable rule and requirement of membership. Members need to allow enough time to complete this task when they are watering their plots so it is left ready to draw from by the next plot holder. If a neighbour is also drawing from a trough simultaneously plot holders need to negotiate the refilling of the trough between them.Chris Clifford Chair, EWAA
Polytunnels for sale South Ward Allotments Association is selling some polytunnels on abandoned plots. Each is 6m x 3m. The plastic is probably salvageable on one of them, maybe not the other. £100 each, money to go into Association funds. Others may also be available, but these are the best two. Buyer will be responsible for dismantling and removal. The bolts mostly look ok, not too rusted to undo, although you may need to replace one or two when putting the tunnels back together. I have photos, but don’t want to overload people’s inboxes unnecessarily.
The new online ordering process seems to be working well, with over 50 bags of compost delivered last weekend.
The Ewaa shop online ordering process
However there seems to be some confusion about how the online ordering process works. So for clarity:-
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org saying what you’d like, remembering to include your plot number.
Someone will reply on Friday night or Saturday morning (apologies if its late, it’s a time consuming manual process), explaining what of your order can be supplied and how much it’ll be, and what the EWAA bank details are (with a reminder to ensure the plot numbet is visible).
Some time before Sunday, you make a bank transfer, with your plot number as reference.
On Sunday morning, someone checks the bank for payments received and draws up a list of deliveries.
These are then delivered through Sunday.
If payments aren’t received by Sunday morning, or if we can’t identify the plot, delivery will have to wait until the following weekend.
We have had a few thefts reported, following peoples deliveries last weekend. If you’re concerned about thefts, then liase with the shop officer to arrange collection from the shop on Sunday Morning (normally at 11am). If you’ve arranged to collect your items and don’t turn up, they’ll be held until the following Sunday.
Seeds/bulbs and other perishables
The decision was taken in the March committee, that with the shop closing for the foreseeable future, we’d run down our stock of perishable goods. As such we have not been restocking potatoes, seeds or bulbs beyond the orders already made before the lock-down. That said there are some seeds left in the shop: Courgettes, Pumpkins, Squash, Cabbage, Swede, Japanese Green Boy, Brussels Sprout and Tomato. I believe there are some broad beans left too. I’ll present a list in future postings on here.
In these uncertain times there are unprecedented numbers of members making very frequent trips to their plots. People are observing our recommended social distancing measures and we thank everyone for doing so. We recognise that EWAA is more than simply a place to grow fruit and vegetables. In these times it is, more than ever, a place to escape, and seek sanctuary in nature and in our community.
However as more people are using the plots, we need to be mindful of other people. There have been a few complaints about the use of our shared space by other plotholders, so in order to facilitate good relations in our community, could we please request that members are respectful of their neighbours particularly regarding:
-noise (music, radio, power tools, mowers, dogs, children, or other any noise). One person’s choice of music may not be someone else’s!
-boundaries (leaving tools, weeds, clippings on boundaries or extending over them with constructions or compost heaps). Access should always be maintained along the boundaries.
Many of us enjoy the social aspect of our plots with refreshments and picnics but under no circumstances should this include overnight stays, however appealing the idea of a ‘camp out’’ might be. Our lease with the Council does not permit this. Evidence of plotholders staying overnight would be a serious breach of the rules and would result in expulsion from the site.
We would also draw everyone’s attention to the existence of the social area on the middle row which may be useful for children or dogs and balls or larger families taking a break. This may be used by any member at any time providing of course, social distancing measures are observed.
We thank you for your attention in these matters, so our community can grow together.
Hoping we all have a good growing season and that we will be able to celebrate harvest in the normal way.
Following the CoVid 19 changes, online shop orders and deliveries have started up. So far, we’ve managed to get one online order cycle in per week, and our stock is selling well. We’ve also managed to get some deliveries from our suppliers. It is our intention to run down our perishable supplies and focus on the non-perishables, as the shop sales are quite down on usual, and seem somewhat skewed from our usual patterns, so it’s hard to predict what people will buy.
That said, what’s clear is there is a Compost shortage. So we’ve managed to buy lots of it. We have had our 2nd delivery of a pallet of “Sterilised, Composted Manure” in the shop. This is now selling at £5.55 per bag.
Almost all our suppliers were unable to sell compost, but we managed to get a pallet of 75 litre bags of “Multipurpose Compost”. It does not say ‘Peat Free’ on the pack, so assume it isn’t, but it was all that was available currently. We’re selling those at £5.40 per bag.
Because we were unable to buy peat-free compost, we bought a few bags of “Cocount Coir”. This is more expensive, at £9 for a 60l bag, but we’re told this expands considerably when wet (FYI the pack includes PPE guidance, regarding Coir dust, when dry).
As requested by several people, we bought a number of bags of “John Innes Seed Compost”, “John Innes No2 Compost” and some “Perlite”. This is in addition to our existing stock of pre-mixed smaller bags of “Seed & Cutting Compost”. Prices are as follows:-
Seed & Cutting Compost 10 ltr
John Innes Seed Compost 30 Litre
John Innes No 2 Compost (25 litre)
Blended Manure Compost
Multipurpose Compost 75 Litre
Coconut Coir 60 Litre
We have ordered some 30 litre Tomato Gro’Bags, but these have not been delivered yet. I have no information on if/when they’ll arrive. When they do come in, they will be £2.50 each. Please let us know if you’re interested in these, as we don’t have room to keep much stock, so we’re only ordering a few bags over that needed to cover existing orders. So get your orders in to avoid missing out.
Finally, we’re getting lots of requests for crop protection this year, so in addition to the usual range of nets and fleeces we have, we’ve bought in some 0.9m (3 feet) x 25m rolls of Chicken Wire. If these sell quickly we can get some more. These will be £27 per roll. We can get 50m rolls, and rolls that are 0.3/0.6/0.9/1.2/1.8m (1/2/3/4/6 feet) wide, if anyone wants some.
For those not aware, we’re taking orders online. Please email email@example.com to discuss or request your order, and we’ll try to get a quote out by Saturday lunchtime, along with the EWAA shop bank details. On Sunday morning, we’ll check for payments received, and deliver to your plot. Please ensure you quote your plot number as reference to the bank payment, and please ensure your plot is clearly numbered, so we can find it. Please email any secret delivery locations before Sunday.
Owing to the CoViD 19 pandemic, the ewaa shop has had to close. However we still have some stock and our suppliers still seem to be able to take orders and deliver. So we’d like to see if its feasible to run an occasional email and deliver to plot service.
Initially we’d like plot holders to email the firstname.lastname@example.org with any requests for orders. We’ll then review what’s been requested (possibly after a few days) and reply back with a confirmation of what’s available, how much it’ll cost, and ewaa bank account details, to take bacs payments (we will not accept cash or card payments). We’ll then check the bank after a period of time and deliver (it will not be practical to chase for payments, so please pay ontime to avoid missing the window).
Depending on stock there may be a delay for deliveries. Demand, will determine the frequency we can provide the service.
We are considering providing some things not normally stocked in the shop such as seed compost, tomato bags and carrot seed and shed repair materials, so do ask.