February 3, 2008
Allotment holders’ bid to save plots from housing plan.
Allotment holders across Oxford defiantly said they would dig for victory in the battle to save their plots from the treat of new houses.
Planners have identified three allotment sites on which 400 homes could be built in a confidential list of potential sites if demand for housing continues to soar. These new housing plans will spell disaster for what little green space is still left in Oxford. At a time when growing your own food is seen as increasingly important for people’s health and the environment we need to be opening more land for allotments, not slapping housing on ones that already exists. With the ever increasing demand for new housing the battle lies between the need for housing, as against protecting our important green spaces. In 2000 the city council, which rents allotments directly to associations, agreed a standard lease agreement until 2021 – effectively meaning allotments are free from development for another 14 years.
Most of the 36 city council-owed plots are bound by long-term leases, meaning they are free from development until at least 2020.
Allotments are incredibly valuable spaces. In addition to growing your own tasty vegetables which saves on carbon miles as the vegetables are locally grown rather than grown abroad, they keep you fit, are educational and save you money.
December 18, 2007
Innovative garden tool.
The spork. Half spade half fork the spork is an ingenious two in one garden tool.
Designed by Oxford engineer Robert Todd.
This light weight but very tough blade can be used for general digging. The 75cm long wooden handle is suitable for both men and women and make light work of digging.
The blade has an ingenious cutting edge for cutting through roots, slicing turf, trims lawn and border edges and slices through heavy clay.
The blade has gaps which reduces the weight, also the surface area is less and doesn’t become so heavily clogged in heavy soils making digging a laborious back-breaking chore. The blade can riddle soils like a fork.
The triangular pointed teeth can make easy work of weeds in a gravel path as well as raking for seed drills.
This nifty garden tool can be used for digging in the garden as well as making light work of digging and planting vegetables in the allotment.
The SPORK blade is easily sharpened to keep a true edge throughout its long working life.
Robert has also produced the SPRAKE and smaller hand working garden tools in much the same ingenious design.