Allotment Problems

Well, maybe they are problems and maybe they aren’t – one is already solved anyway and the others may just be dilemmas.

1 – the case of the leaking kettle

"There once was a fine Kelly kettle
Whose owners would boast of its mettle
When a leak it appeared
Their joy disappeared
For their kettle no longer had fettle."

But the Kelly kettle company are wonderful people and they sent me a new storm kettle to replace the old one. How’s that for problem solving! It's nice to have a proper cup of tea up on the site again.

2 – the bees, the bees!

We were due a visit by a beekeeper next Sunday, to talk about setting up a hive on one of the plots. Since I put the article in the newsletter, half a dozen people have asked to have their plots considered for bee-housing. However the beekeeper turned up a week early and said he couldn’t undertake to put a hive on the allotment for a variety of sensible reasons including the fact that he’s going to be away for a lot of the summer. So we have two alternatives:

A – set up a bee cooperative amongst ourselves
B – find another beekeeper

In the midst of all this it turns out that an allotment holder has bee allergy and could go into anaphylactic shock and die if stung. Now that could happen as easily with a bumble bee as a hive bee, and he carries adrenaline, and now that we know at least … well, we know, because before yesterday, we wouldn’t have had a clue that the problem might be allergy rather than say a heart attack.

But what should we do now? Should the risk to him outweigh the benefit to over 300 allotment holders who should get better pollination of crops via the bees? If not, should we set up a cooperative and take on the responsibility of apiculture ourselves or find another beekeeper who might at least start us off? I admit to mixed feelings. I know that I already have enough to do as secretary, but if anything goes wrong and I’m part of the cooperative I shall be the one person that everybody knows how to get hold of, which means that I’ll be the one out all hours if there are panics and problems. Also I worry about the idea of having a hive when one person, at least, will be made unhappy and apprehensive about it. Suppose we drove him to give up his allotment – that would be horrible, irresponsible and against the ethos of everything we’re doing. Ugh. Any advice anyone?

3 – The water, the water!

Our mains water won’t be turned back on until April. The storage tanks along each row are virtually dry. Our water butt is less than a third full. The seedlings need water! What are folk to do if it doesn’t rain?

A – transport water to the site – which is expensive, hard work and environmentally damaging.
B – let their crops die as seedling plants – which is expensive, heart-breaking and silly.
C – badger the council to turn on the water – which could backfire because the council don’t like to be badgered and the rules say Easter. We ask them to stick to other rules so it seems odd to now start demanding that they break some, and it makes us seem inconsistent.
D – pray or dance or whatever (depending on belief system) for rain.

Ideas welcomed on this one too.

And we've made, painted and installed the last of our raised beds - this picture is pre-installation because by the time we'd finished I was too exhausted to go and find the camera again.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, March 23, 2009


Blogger Z said...

My son got his first beehive last spring, but he'd spent the previous year going to the local beekeepers' association learning about it. I'd not want to take it on without learning the ropes first. And do the people who want a hive on their plot realise that at some times the bees are extremely protective of the hive and it isn't safe to work on the allotment near them? What did the beekeeper think of the practicality of the idea, apart from his personal reasons for not doing it?

As for the water problem - I expect it'll rain. I don't think I've ever had to water the garden in March and April, but if there were a few tiny seedlings that I didn't want to risk I'd take a container of water along. A supermarket wine carrier with filled bottles will go a long way with seedlings. Greenhouse gardening needs extra water of course, but if you have a greenhouse you must have taken along water when you sowed the seeds.

March 23, 2009 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Z, that's really helpful because beekeepers aren't necessarily allotment holders and the idea that you can't work near the bees even for ten minutes, let alone a couple of days, probably wouldn't impress my colleagues!

Watering is a real issue for us - we've never had no water in the storage tanks before. Lots of people have greenhouses on the site, but ours is at home, fortunately.

March 26, 2009 at 7:50 AM  

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