Weekend on the Allotment.
Allotments near the Ribble are under threat from the Riverworks Proposals - here a Penwortham allotment keeper explains the positive contribution these allotments make to our environment, and to his family's leisure time:
Our Allotment is about 100 yards back from the Ribble. It is backed by a stand of mixed woodland. It is lovely peaceful spot. Spring is here and the Allotments are a hive of activity. Spuds and onions have been planted and in the lull before green house seeds can be planted out we decided to rescue and repair our water storage.
Hopefully we will not have to water too often this year as the soil is full of organic matter and soaks up water like a sponge. Young seedlings will need some attention though. We collect and store rain water to enable us to do this. Unfortunately we have developed a leak. Repairing this has involved emptying and relining the reservoir. A task complicated by having to move 7 frogs and about 1000 tadpoles. Does anyone know how many slugs a frog can eat? I would be interested to know.
Much of the organic matter used on the allotments is provided by local stables. This mixture of bedding and manure which presents a problem for the stables as it can not be tipped or burnt. On the allotment however this waste product becomes an asset. It adds fertility, improves the water holding capacity of the soil which is teaming with many invertebrates such as worms. Any one digging on our plot will probably be followed by a Robin who quite happily follows as you dig, feasting on some of the many fat worms uncovered. I hope the Kestrel does not see him.
The allotments are an asset to the local area. They provide recreation and exercise to local people of all ages. They add to the incredible biodiversity of the area offering habitat to a number of birds, mammals, amphibians and insects. They are fantastic recycling centres; vegetable waste is composted, old pallets and wood are reused, discarded pop bottles are used propagate seedlings in spring. I could go on.
The high organic matter in the soil stores moisture ensuring minimal water wastage in times of drought. During rain they can also help to prevent flooding.
Losing these leisure facilities to the developers would not enhance the environment but detract from it.