Adjacent Treeworks Restrict Allotments Access

Malcolm Thompson writes :

IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2020 TREE WORK AT THE ALLOTMENT SITE CHURCH CROOKHAM

Please note that there is tree felling work due to take place around the allotment site perimeter commencing 24th September.

For safety reasons we ask that visitors to the location to access the allotment and regular walkers in the locality try to avoid the area over the following dates and times.

  • Thursday 24th & Friday 25th Felling work
  • Monday 28th Felling work
  • On Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th the grassed area adjacent to the footpath, the footpath around the allotment, the allotment carpark and potentially the tarmac road just before the allotment turning will need to be closed off.
  • Tuesday 29th Tractor on site to move felled trees to alongside the allotment car park
  • Tuesday 29th Artic lorry on site from 12pm (12:00h) to load felled trees and again at 3pm to complete this task – 2 hours approx. each time to load
  • Wednesday 30th 2 lorries on site to carry out chipping work
  • Thursday 1st October – work to tidy up the location

The Community Centre Carpark is only a few minutes walk from the Allotments site and should be used as an alternative to the Allotment carpark on 29th and 30th Sept.

Apologies for this inconvenience.

Church Crookham Parish Council

Taking Over a New Plot

If you have taken over a new plot or are finding your current plot a struggle, the task ahead might look daunting. Don’t give up. Help and advice is at hand.
Members of the Church Crookham Allotments Association committee will be pleased to hear from you and help find answers to queries, arrange a time to visit your plot or even organise help. Please feel free to ask for help and advice.

Once the initial work is done, the rest can be manged in small doses. Sitting viewing the results in the summer sun is something to really look forward to.

Our contact email address is at the foot of this page.

  • can’t manage your plot
  • thinking of giving up
  • how can I cope with the weeds
  • what should I be planting right now
  • need help with watering
  • would like to hire our rotovator

Members of the committee are always keen to help and advise.

Know your committee : committee

 

Honeybee Colonies Expanding Rapidly

Honey Bee : © National Education Network Gallery by Diane Earl

Church Crookham Apiary spring 2019 update.

The spring nectar flow started early this year with the Easter warm weather, then it came to a shuddering halt as the weather turned sharply cooler again – the nectar and pollen coming into the the hives has noticeable slowed. Our beekeepers are gradually moving some of their colones to the Apiary site – you may have noticed the number of hives increasing.

The honeybee colonies in the hives at the apiary are expanding rapidly. Having made it through the winter, the colonies started raising new bees much early this year compared with 2018, and because of this swarming in the area has started early – more on that later.

The queen bee in each colony is laying at probably close to her peak rate of about 2000 eggs per day. One tiny egg positioned neatly in the centre of the familiar hexagon shaped beeswax cell. On day 3 the egg hatches into a larvae and for 6 days the larvae is fed mostly on a diet of “bee bread” protein made from pollen (thanks for the flowers!). On day 9 the larvae spins a cocoon in it’s cell ready to pupate, and the the worker bees cover the cell with a wax cap to keep it safe. 12 days later, 21 days after the egg was laid, a new worker bee emerges ready to start her chores. You can see the maths: 21 days after she starts to lay and for every day thereafter 2000 new bees are added to the colony, until the queen slows down her eggs laying. Of course the older bees that made it through the winter die, and the nectar / pollen flows impact the rate of laying so the increase isn’t linear, but nevertheless each hive in the apiary goes from about 8-10,000 bees in February to about 25,000 by May, and will keep increasing to 40,000 plus by early July. A large pollination workforce on your doorstep.

This rapid population increase is something we as beekeepers have to manage – making sure the queen has room to lay, the increasing colony population has space to expand and somewhere to put the pollen and nectar coming into the hive. That’s why you’ll see us down at the hives weekly from April to mid summer with boxes and inspecting each hive – weather permitting.

Eggs are one thing, but they don’t directly help honeybees make new colonies. To do that a colony has to split; the old queen leaves with about half the bees – a swarm – leaving half behind to raise a new queen. We manipulate our colonies to prevent this happening or, if we see swarming preparations start, to “fool” the bees into thinking they’ve already swarmed. If you do see a swarm on the allotments, they can look quite intimidating – but they really aren’t if you leave them alone. The bees are not “attacking” anything, simply looking for a new home. The swarm may well not be from a colony on the CC apiary if I and my fellow beekeepers have done their job well. Go to the bbka website https://www.bbka.org.uk/swarm, and type in your postcode. You’ll be given a list of beekeepers to call, most of the local beekeepers listed will be FBKA members. Please remember we are volunteers many with full time jobs so may not be able to respond straight away.

I hope your allotments crops are all doing well, and if insect pollinated, our bees are helping – there’s certainly plenty of them next door now!

Graham Read
Beekeeper and FBKA Exec member


The Fleet & District Beekeeping Association (FBKA) was founded in 1918 to support beekeepers across North Hampshire and 100 years on we welcome new members wanting to learn this fascinating and ancient skill. We encourage, train and support local beekeepers to maintain healthy, docile and productive honey bees as well as advancing the education of the public in the importance of bees in the environment.

We have over 200 members in Aldershot, Ash Vale, Farnborough, Fleet, Church Crookham, Crookham, Dogmersfield, Hartley Wintney, Hook, Odiham and surrounding North Hampshire areas.FBKA is a member of the national body – the British Beekeepers Association. More information at www.fleetbeekeepers.com

Annual General Meeting 2019

A room is reserved in the community centre for Thursday 4th April for the AGM starting at 19:30h.

Bee Keeping

Hello from Fleet & District Beekeepers Association (FBKA), the beekeeping association that covers NE Hampshire – roughly the areas of Hart and Rushmoor. Many of you may have noticed the new fencing that has sprung up on the other side of the car park from the Allotments – this is FBKA’s newest Members Apiary. We are very pleased to be here – despite originating in Fleet 100 years ago, the association has member apiaries in Aldershot and Farnborough but didn’t have one in Fleet!

So what is a “member apiary”? Many of our members need a place to keep their hives, as our often small gardens aren’t always suitable – so the association arranges for sites around the area where members can keep a few hives. A member apiary site is managed by an FBKA point of contact (me in this case) who reports to the FBKA Exec committee, and ensures that anyone keeping bees on the site is a suitably trained beekeeper, a member of FBKA, and follows the agreed apiary rules.

2019 will be the site’s first full year, and it’s going to be really interesting to see how the honey bees get on; on paper it should be a good location with the nearby gardens, allotments and SANG land – honeybees often do best in suburban and semi-rural areas where there’s a mix of dense planting and natural parkland areas – with a good variety of bee-friendly plants.

There are spaces for up to 10 colonies on the Church Crookham site and the astute among you will have noticed 5 colonies have taken up residence for the winter. Most bees and wasps hibernate during the colder months. In many species, only the queen survives the winter, emerging in spring to reestablish a colony. But honey bees remain active all winter long, despite the cold temperatures and lack of flowers on which to forage.

They do it by huddling together as a cluster to keep warm, in particular protecting the queen – in the winter a hive will be about 8-13,000 bees keeping their cluster temperature at 20-21C, so as warm as your house (this rises to 32C once breeding starts). It takes a lot of energy to keep warm, and they use their own “larder” to feed themselves in the form of honey. If their stores start to run low you might see one of us down at the apiary with bags of sugar or fondant to give them a helping hand. Let’s hope the winter isn’t too long and they all survive, because the advantage for us and the bees is that they exit winter as an already fully operational colony – and are quickly available in large numbers to help pollinate early crops and other flora.

I’ll provide further updates on beekeeper, and the bees, activities at the CC apiary as the year progresses.

Graham Read
Beekeeper and FBKA Exec member

The Fleet & District Beekeeping Association (FBKA) was founded in 1918 to support beekeepers across North Hampshire and 100 years on we welcome new members wanting to learn this fascinating and ancient skill. We encourage, train and support local beekeepers to maintain healthy, docile and productive honey bees as well as advancing the education of the public in the importance of bees in the environment.

We have over 200 members in Aldershot, Ash Vale, Farnborough, Fleet, Church Crookham, Crookham, Dogmersfield, Hartley Wintney, Hook, Odiham and surrounding North Hampshire areas. FBKA is a member of the national body – the British Beekeepers Association. More information at www.fleetbeekeepers.com

Annual Show 2018 Report

by Nigel Williams.

Many thanks to all who turned up to the annual show on Sunday 9th September. Especially to our guests from the Men’s Shed group, James Donaldson of Fleet Beekeepers and our local MP Ranil Jayawardena and his delightful family. It was great that the weather was kind to us and hearty congratulations to all prize winners. We hope that you all had a good time and enjoyed the opportunity to meet and chat to your fellow plot holders.

 


National Apple Day

National Apple Day is being celebrated at the community centre and Gurkha Memorial Orchard, Crookham Park on Sunday 21st October.  There will be Morris Dancers, magic show, live music, food and drink stalls … oh, and apple tree advice.

12.00h – The Memorial Orchard & Church Crookham Community Centre, Church Crookham, FLEET. GU52  8AQ


Church Crookham Allotments Autumn Sale 2018

  • Broad Bean – Aquadulce Claudia – Plant before the 11th November
    £1 per packet (approx. 50 beans)
  • Garlic – Dearly Purple White & Caulk White
    Plant in October
    £2 per bulb or 2 for £3
  • Onion – White Santero & Winter Red Karmen
    Plant in October
    £1 per bag (approx. 50 onions)

PLEASE MAKE PAYMENTS INTO BLUE TIN.

Any questions or suggestions please contact a committee member or Andy Theaker (plot 91) at andy@ccallotments.org.uk

Compost and Swallows, summer must be here

Photo by Diane Earl NEN

The swallows were spotted at the site at the end of last week and hopefully they will reuse last year’s nest.

Another load of compost has been delivered to site today (14th May 2018).  This is a very reasonable price of £2.50 per barrow load.  Please make sure you put the correct contribution into the blue tin, or hand to a committee member or you can pay online (Details on the Allotments Shop Page)

March Hints and Tips

Our sister Church Crookham Garden Society is publishing a monthly hints and tips section. It’s well worth a look.

Monthly Hints and Tips, written by Liz Kirton, March 2018 edition includes :

  • Blueberries: remove one third of the oldest stems to ground level to promote new fruiting wood. Top dress with ericaceous compost.
  • Gooseberries, red and white currants: remove dead wood, then spur prune all side shoots to 1-3 buds from their base and shorten branch tips by a quarter.
  • Start planting early potatoes mid-March and onion and shallot sets.
  • Direct sow broad beans, carrots, lettuce, parsnips and peas.
  • Prepare trenches for runner beans with well-rotted manure and shredded paper at the base – they do not like to dry out!
  • Start off other vegetables under glass.

Above all, keep hoeing off those annual weeds before they set seed!

*First remove snow! (ed)

February 2018 Newsletter

Allotment News 26 Feb 2018

Brace yourself, the weather is going to turn particularly ‘baltic’ over the next few days, but trust me, Spring is just around the corner. If you haven’t been down the allotment for a while, now’s the time to pay it a visit and check everything out. I’ve noticed that quite a lot of plastic ground cover has blown away, so make sure your plots are covered and secured to supress the weeds. If  you want your beds rotovating they need to be weed free, have a chat with a committee member and they’ll gladly offer help or advice.

 

This year we aim to get all the plots up and running, and most of all, worked on! It’s been noted over the past couple of years that some have been neglected, so now’s the time to decide whether you really have the time to put the work in or perhaps you could do with a smaller plot, or is it time you handed it over to someone else? Please consider all the options as the council is going to be more stringent on issuing notices to plots that haven’t been worked on.

Don’t forget to make a mental note – the AGM will be in April, date to be announced.

Look out for the bulk load of compost that should be arriving mid March. Whether it’s chippings or compost please remember to pay for it in the blue tin which is emptied daily, I’m sure you’ll all agree it’s a lot more convenient and cheaper than buying it from the shop, but we do need to cover our costs and rely on your good will to pay for it in the honesty box.

You all may have noticed the big black metal box on the wall outside Shed 1 and I thought it would be a good idea to use it as a suggestion box, so if you need help, have noticed rats or just come up with a useful idea, jot it down on a bit of paper and slot it in the box, the good old fashioned way!

if you want to contact a committee member by email, please use this e-mail address :

chairperson email

I hope to see you all down there once the Beast from the East has cleared off.

Happy Digging

 

Andy T