This is the title of a newish book (2019) by Dave Goulson, Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Sussex. It’s subtitled, “Gardening to Save the Planet” and that pretty well tells you what to expect.
This is no dull textbook however. It’s a lively read and full of unexpected and practical ideas as well as lots of good humour.
I was surprised to read for example, that the Oxford Junior Dictionary has removed the words, newt, acorn, minnow, kingfisher and dandelion. Why? Because these words are no longer considered relevant for children.
It seems to me this is a mistake on so many levels, it’s almost criminal.
Following our successful application for funding from the Community Climate Asset Fund (CCAF), we have been able to purchase a small wood chipping machine and ten rainwater storage tanks.
The wood-chipping machine has so far proved useful in our community garden where the prunings from the orchard have been converted into wood-chip. It’s a dinky little machine and will only accept single stalk branches with a diameter no more than two inches.
A number of our Volunteers have been trained in its use and have agreed to process suitable materials throughout the year ahead. This will reduce the amount of brush material we have to burnin site.
All ten rainwater tanks have been allocated to various plots on site with some being used to collect water from sheds or greenhouses and others just free-standing with an open collector arrangement using polythene sheet to capture the rainwater as the pictures show.
If further funding opportunities arise we would hope to acquire more rainwater tanks to meet demand
Collecting rain water on our plots makes obvious sense. Some plants prefer rain water – blueberries for example. Having water on a plot is a time and effort saver. With conservation in mind, we ought to avoid using mains water if we can.
A system to capture rain water from a shed or greenhouse is the best way to passively fill an IBC or water butt. However, this may not always be possible or practical and if so, an arrangement like this can work well.
In this case pallet wood was used to create a rectangular frame sitting atop of the IBC and a sheet of polythene with a hole cut in it added to collect the rain. There’s enough polythene to drape into the IBC and the central weight keeps it in place in high winds (for months a brick served the same purpose). This arrangement has the disadvantage that water does not flow into the IBC until it rises above the lip of the container’s mouth.
This example has all of the hallmarks of my usual careful approach to fine woodworking, my high standards of engineering and my impeccable cleanliness, but in my defence it has worked well over five years or so – in that time the IBC has never been empty.
You are welcome to come by and see it in place on Plot 81.
However, Gavin on Plot 7a has raised the bar with his new version of this solution which addresses the shortcomings of the above. Gavin is happy for you to come see the construction details.
Gavin intends to add guttering and a downpipes to capture additional rain off his shed.
This video includes the suggestion that the whole top be cut off the IBC to achieve catch the rainwater and offers some larger scale options including using a pump.
This video offers ideas for using solar power to pump water from an IBC around an allotment.
If you have another ideas please let us have the details.
I want to offer my thanks to all the plotters and volunteers who found time to come along and help with our recent bonfire. It was great to see so many turn out on the day.
At the outset the pile looked very daunting, but with help turning out across the day we were able to finish by 16.00. A fantastic effort from our community.
Thanks go to everyone who came to help with the fire, organise the cake and coffee station and especially to our bakers for the very tasty bites that kept us going all day.
Please note that no more waste material should be left around the site now until bonfire waste is again accepted in November. Please take your own waste home for disposal or better still, organise to compost it on your own plot. Remember, the Council does not allow bonfires on allotment sites from the end of March to the end of September.
Thursday 18 March is Bonfire Day. We will start about 10.00. Many hands will make for lighter work. We have a mountain of material to feed to the flames. As always, safety comes first. If you can manage along, please remember your gloves and the importance of having your own safety and that of others as the first priority. We will operate as a series of smaller groups throughout the day to manage numbers and keep everyone safe.