Revitalising the Allotments – April 2019

Community Orchard
The official opening of Heyford Community Orchard will be held on Saturday 6th April, at 11.30.am – for a 12 noon start. We have invited our wonderful band of sponsors and supporters and we would also like you, the good folk of Nether and Upper Heyford, to feel free to come and join us. Everyone is welcome. All that we would ask is that if you’d like to join in our picnic, you bring a nibble to eat and something to drink. We can’t provide refreshments for all as we have no idea how many people are likely to attend. How embarrassing to have a hundred guests and only a packet or two of sandwiches. Conversely, a handful of people and hundreds of items of food and drink left over! If you are planning to stay for a while you may also want to consider bringing a chair.

Despite the recent gales Mother Nature has been kind to the trees, although we can’t predict at what stage of growth they are likely to be on 6th April. We’ll certainly have to wait a year or two for boughs laden with fruit.

If you haven’t seen what has been achieved so far this is a great opportunity to have a first look at the orchard. It will also be an opportunity for you to ask those involved how it is going to be managed and how you can take advantage of the fruit we will eventually have on offer. Remember, this is a community orchard.

Jam Patch
Work on creating a Jam Patch is moving on swiftly. We have planted three long rows of raspberry canes and rescued at least a dozen currant and gooseberry bushes. Rhubarb crowns have been unearthed and replanted and a more manageable blackberry trellis created. If, in our trawl of discarded plots, we find strawberries they will also be planted up. This, like the orchard, will be a community area so available to all.

Like the orchard, this area will be clearly signposted so that villagers are quite clear about what is a community space and which plots are exclusively reserved for individual allotmenteers.

Tester Plots and Renting and Allotments
The tester plots are slowly taking shape and we are pleased to report that already one has been occupied. Since my last article we have decided that these small strips of ground (measuring about 2m x 10m) will be offered rent-free for a year, enabling potential tenants to see if allotmenteering is for them. After that they will have the opportunity to rent a proper allotment. We have plot sizes to suit all tastes so potential tenants should not panic about having too much to cope with. If you’d like to try out one of the tester plots but feel uncertain about what (or how) to grow vegetables, we can provide you with advice and help setting yourself up.

If you are interested, come and have a look at what is on offer and then contact either Sue Corner on 01327 342124 or Lynda Eales on 01327 341707.

Seats
A big, big thank you to all the people from the village who offered us unwanted garden benches and picnic tables for our community area. As with the sponsorship of fruit trees we are so heartened by the generosity of the villagers.

The furniture is currently being given some TLC and will make a wonderful addition to the community area. We now have enough items, although as the orchard grows, we’d love to think that we could secrete a few more benches in among the trees – but that is for the future.

Food for Thought
“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”

Mike Langrish

 

Revitalising the Allotments – March 2019

Community Orchard
We are planning an official opening of Heyford Community Orchard on Saturday 6th April, at 11.30.am – for a 12 noon start. We will of course be inviting our wonderful band of sponsors and supporters but we would also like you, the good folk of Nether and Upper Heyford, to feel free to come and join us. Everyone is welcome. All that we would ask is that if you’d like to join in our picnic, you bring a nibble to eat and something to drink.

Unfortunately we can’t provide refreshments for all as we have no idea how many people are likely to attend. How embarrassing to have a hundred guests and only a packet or two of sandwiches. Conversely, a handful of people and hundreds of items of food and drink left over! If you are planning to stay for a while you may also want to consider bringing a chair.

We have ordered good weather and we are hoping Mother Nature will have been kind to the trees. They should be in leaf and some may even have blossom on them. I think we’ll have to wait a year or two for boughs laden with fruit.

If you haven’t seen what has been achieved so far this a great opportunity to have a first look at the orchard. It will also be an opportunity for you to ask those involved how it is going to be managed and how you can take advantage of the fruit we will eventually have on offer. Remember, this is a community orchard.

We look forward to seeing you – whether it is for just a fleeting visit or for an afternoon of bucolic relaxation.

Jam Patch
The next stage in our plan to revitalise the allotment site is to create a Jam Patch. This, like the orchard, will be a community area so available to all. As we have cleared old allotments we have rescued any fruit bushes that are in good condition. These will be planted up on a plot next to the orchard and be available for residents to pick from and hopefully make jam – or any other tasty treats.

Like the orchard, this area will be clearly signposted so that villagers are quite clear about what is a community space and which plots are exclusively reserved for individual allotmenteers.

Watch this space for an update on developments.

Tester Plots
Just like ‘tester (paint) pots’ when you are planning to decorate, we thought it
would be a good idea to create some tester plots. These would be small strips of ground (measuring about 3m x 7m) that local residents could rent for a very minimal fee, to see if they’d like to take on an allotment – or maybe just continue to cultivate because that is quite enough for them.

Clearing and preparing these areas will be the subject of our ‘working parties’ who plan to meet at 10.00.am every Saturday in March for a couple of hours work. Looking at what has been achieved so far, it is amazing just how much can be done in a short period when willing hands are put to work. If you are able to assist (even at another time) then do contact either Lynda or Sue on the numbers listed below.

Renting an Allotment
I am sure that readers of the Prattler won’t have missed our many messages about the good reasons to rent an allotment. Now is the perfect time to adopt a plot. The weather should, by the time you read this article, have started to warm up and the days will certainly be getting longer. Why not give allotmenteering a go and grow your own, tasty fruit and veg. Plots of all sizes are available for rent, from the tiniest of spaces to full sized allotments. In almost all cases they are now in a good state to begin cultivating. What better way to get some exercise and work off the pounds you put on over the festive period?

If you are interested, come and have a look at what is on offer and then contact either Sue Corner on 01327 342124 or Lynda Eales on 01327 341707.

Seats
From time to time people have old garden benches or picnic tables that they no longer require. We’d love to have some seating in the community areas we have created alongside the orchard. If you have just such an item (preferably made of wood/metal) and it needs a new home, do get in touch on either 01327 341390 or langrish_heyford@hotmail.com All donations would be most warmly welcome.

Free Compost Days
Last year South Northants Council organized some free compost days at their Towcester depot. In a bid to encourage people to recycle more green waste they invited local residents to drive along to Towcester with empty sacks and fill them with the compost that is produced from the waste in your green bins. Normally this has to be paid for; you may have noticed the ‘for sale’ notices at the recycling centre. On this occasion it was all free!

The initiative was not well publicized and on the day that Jill and I helped out, I don’t think we saw one Heyford resident. No advance notice of the event has yet been published, but I have enquired about whether the event is being repeated. As soon as I hear, we will publish details on the Prattler website and if possible, get it mentioned in the Prattler itself.

Mike Langrish