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A squash (or two) in the shed

Fanwell Tandi's squash collection

Fanwell Tandi’s squash collection

The last of the autumn crops have been harvested by tenants – maize (which takes a long time to mature!), winter squashes and some other bits and pieces have been picked.
The most a-maizing (!) sight was seeing the potting shed full of Fanwell’s winter squashes, all shapes and sizes, from butternut to Turk’s Head Turban.
This is a crucial storage space for tenants living in small flats, as with such a bumper harvest, they don’t have room for all their produce at home.
One of the interesting bits of information was how Fanwell’s maize had cross-pollinated with a neighbour’s sweetcorn. The stronger strain of maize had the effect of transforming the sweetcorn cobs into ‘mini maize’, complete with the slightly more starchy taste and texture of maize.
Compared with last year, 2013 has been a great season for the tenants who have grown a wide range of produce, which has benefited greatly from the long and sunny growing season.
As the year draws to a close, the group has celebrated its successes with an award meal, courtesy of Taff Housing. It’s a chance for all the regulars, old and new faces, on the site to sit down and reflect on what has been achieved.
They’ve benefited from new facilities – a 1,000-litre rainwater water catchment tank, a new compost toilet, more raised beds for new participants and grant money to buy a polytunnel and purchase the rented steel tool container.
Thanks are due to all the Taff staff involved, allotment holders (Sam and Ivor particularly) and a special thanks to contractors Willis Construction and Cowlin Construction for their help on the site.
Another big thank you is due to the team at Landcraft for doing an excellent job installing the new compost toilet, which the tenants really appreciate.


Flush with success

allotment agm-webThe community allotment group celebrated a year of success at their Annual General Meeting, marking many changes and improvements to the site.
One of the most important, the addition of a compost toilet, took place
outside the training shed as the meeting itself was taking place.
With the sun shining and much going on around the allotment site, there was a great atmosphere at the meeting, which was as much a celebration of so many achievements.
As the officers recounted the year’s events, you could hear the sounds of tapping and banging, as the panels and fittings for the toilet were put in place by contractors from Landcraft.
Chairman Fanwell Tandi started off the meeting by saying it had been “a very pleasant year”, and secretary Jayne Palmer talked of the “massive difference” to the facilities, which include more raised beds, a water tank, a thriving training shed, fruit cage, patio area and much more.
Jayne played a big part in helping over the past year to draw down grant funding from Environment Wales, Impact Plus and Awards for All, towards the toilet, a much needed polytunnel, funds to purchase the storage container and top soil.
Registering with Environment Wales has seen a shift on site to more organic gardening – and signage in English and Welsh.
On the New Foundations Home Education plot, the children involved there have been learning lots of growing and making skills, including dismantling pallets to make a bench.
There were thanks for Taff staff, Sam Davies, Ivor Fish and members of the allotment committee, Taff contractors including Cowlin and Willis Construction and others who have been involved.
Site Allotment secretary Steve Watkeys highlighted opportunities to use the site shop and stock up on seeds and materials for the winter.
Chair Fanwell Tandi also paid tribute to Richard Alan Pond, who died earlier this year. He had overcome illness and operations to become a popular figure on the site before he died suddenly in the early summer.
After the meeting ended, everyone enjoyed the sunshine, some refreshments and shared out produce from the plot and wider site, including windfalls of pears and apples and courgettes.
The project has benefited from some great new faces, who have contributed to both the atmosphere and continued development of the site.