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.
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.
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.
Obviously, our Volunteer Squad is stood down right now, awaiting a relaxation in the COVID Regulations that will make it possible for the volunteers to come on site as a group. We are going to review this situation at the end of this month.
We ended last year with a team of 12 active volunteers. I am delighted to say that the team has remained in touch throughout the Lockdown. We had a Zoom Catchup this week and those present confirmed they are all keen to return when circumstances allow. How good it that!
We also discussed how members of the Squad might contribute in the meantime as we wait from normal group activities to recommence. We decided that as the Momentum Group (and we are unsure about Club 10) will not now be returning we will make the raised beds available to volunteers to grow their own stuff for this season (if they so choose). This will make sure that the beds are put to good use and maintained throughout the year, and that the individual volunteers can come on site to work their beds – while staying compliant with the Covid and Council Regs. Meantime, 2 beds will be retained for possible use with Club 10.
Additionally, it may well be that the Primary School kids will not be able to come visit with us in the current session. We have agreed therefore, that the Volunteer Squad will plant up and maintain the Primary Plot and the plastic and metal Primary/Community Greenhouses over the season ahead. The volunteers will be able to harvest for themselves, but we anticipate healthy surpluses will be grown and these we will donate to TAMS. This will boost the TAMS dividend paid into our GFAA funds at the end of the year.
So, in the weeks ahead you are likely to see individual volunteers working on the raised beds and the Primary plot and greenhouses: if you do I hope you will stop by and give them a word of encouragement and thanks.
Thanks go to Steve (Plot 72) and volunteers Doug and Irene for agreeing to oversee and manage the volunteers’ Primary School plot and greenhouse activities for the season ahead.
Watch out for further info on the return of the Squad to full duties when circumstances allow. If you are a GFAA Member and have a pressing need for help please use the Requests for Help link on our homepage.