As many people are all too aware, we share our site with muntjac deer who have been voraciously chomping their way through prize produce.
Various proposals and suggestions have been made about how to stop damage from the deer and the Committee has been liaising with the Oxford Urban Wildlife Group to see what can be done. This is important both for the welfare of the deer population (who are getting very inbred), as well as to prevent the damage they cause.
A cull was planned for April 2021, but Oxford City Council refused to grant a licence on safety grounds, due to the urban setting.
Another possible measure is additional fencing. However, as muntjac deer have tusks they are able to burrow under fences, or simply jump over them, which makes it prohibitively expensive for us to erect effective deer-proof fencing.
In the meantime, here are some ideas to try as deer deterrents: a strong plastic trellis laid over vegetables may offer a physical barrier; planting strongly scented herbs such as lavender around edges of plots may offer a scent barrier; spraying strong odours (e.g. rotten eggs, garlic, chilli, vinegar) around plants; hanging reflective objects nearby (e.g. old CDs and foil food trays); offering alternative food sources (e.g. bread); lastly, commercial deer deterrents are available.
The Committee will continue to work with local ecologists to find solutions for this, however, it is a problem across Oxfordshire and one that many places are grappling with. Arguably, the biggest menace we currently face is not from the deer, but from an onslaught of slugs!
We’ve received a delivery of leaf mould, with some woodchip mixed in. You’ll find the small pile outside the Shop gate. There is no charge for this, but please limit yourself to no more than one barrowload so that everyone gets a chance to use it.
The use of slug pellets which contain the toxic chemical metaldehyde will be banned from March 2022.
Metaldehyde is a poison which can also kill species such as birds and mammals. It is toxic to pets and to people, and rain carries it into drinking water reservoirs.
If you have to resort to slug pellets, some are certified for use in organic growing, and are on sold in the EWAA shop. They contain ferric phosphate which will degrade harmlessly in the soil. However, these pellets also contain chemicals which can be harmful to earthworms and to soil life. Use them sparingly, only 4 or 5 pellets per plant, and only occasionally.
Please DO NOT throw metaldehyde pellets into your household rubbish. Take them to the Redbridge Waste Centre, and contact the committee if you have difficulty getting there.
The Committee has received several reports of plants or produce going missing in recent weeks.
While this can be very frustrating, we do not have many options to solve this problem. A voluntary organisation like ours relies on the goodwill of all members.
We can only remind all members to stick to the Allotment rules, respect other people’s plots and property, and always ensure that gates are locked. If anyone observes suspicious behaviour or thefts of produce, please do contact the Committee by emailing to email@example.com.
We keep a log of incidents and have been able to take action when culprits have been identified.
If tools or valuables go missing, please report the matter to the police and let the Committee know the crime number.
The tap on one of the water troughs broke yesterday, so there is no running water on the site at the moment. The repair should happen today so, all being well, the water will be back on by this evening.