The Finnish allotment Federation (Suomen Siirtolapuutarhaliitto) was co-organisor of a seminar entitled "Invasive Alien Species in the Garden", arranged in the Think Corner at the University of Helsinki on April 9th 2019. The seminar was funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
In the seminar highly respected specialists covered many aspects of the title subject: legislation, plant pests and diseases, plants, bugs, soil and climate change. The seminar also included a call for observations on Spanish slug and the attendants were given advice on how to identify and do away with Persian Hogweed (Heracleum persicum) and Impatiens glandulifera. Furthermore, the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation presented their project VieKas LIFE, which aims at widespread mapping and prevention of invasive alien species as well as increasing the common awareness.
About 80 people attended the seminar which was also streamed live. The streaming video is published on the Helsinki University video channel and the Finnish Federation has edited the streaming into separate clips by subject and speaker. These are published on the federation's YouTube-channel.
Tuinhier went all out on the gardendays in Beervelde. One of the biggest yearly gardenshows in Belgium. The theme was Italia. Tuinhier built a 3,5m high tower of Pisa and decorated it in the colours of the Italian flag.
Further more the Flemish association gave draught tips and trics to the passersby.
For the first time the United Nations (UN) proclaimed May 20th 2018 world bee day. The bee day, which is organised this year for the second time is meant to remind people of how many plants around the world depend on pollination by bees and many other insects. This is not only important for good functioning eco-systems, but also much of the human diet worldwide depends on it. Allotment gardeners also benefit from bumble bees, bees, overflies and co. This is why they are doing something to prevent the disappearance of insects.
The world bee day goes back to the longstanding initiative of Slovenian beekeepers. Last year 115 of the 139 member states of the United Nations voted in favour, including all European Union member states and major global weights, such as the USA, Canada, China, Russia, India, Brazil and Australia.
Every year on May 20th numerous events and actions remind us now of how many plants worldwide depend on pollination by bees and other insects. This is not only important for good functioning eco-systems, but also much of the human diet depends on it. Many fruit products, especially fruit and seeds (both fruit and vegetables) only grow after a successful fertilisation – due to the pollination of the flowers by insects. Other plants, such as cereal grasses are pollinated by the wind. According to the world council of biological diversity, every year bees and other insects pollinate plants worldwide giving fruit worth up to approximately 500 billion Euros.
Bees in the garden
Already in 2011 was the call of the German allotment garden federation "Bring the bees back to the gardens". At that time, there was the first evidence that the bee populations in Germany were declining. Whether by putting up bee hives or through targeted aids for wild bees – it was necessary to support the endangered animals.
Since then a lot has happened: Beekeeping is actively supported in most allotment gardens both in Germany and all over Europe. Free plots are reserved for bee hives and beekeeper knowledge is passed on by the associations' expert gardening advisers. For the care of honey bees a little special knowledge is needed. The settlement of bumble bees and solitary bees, however, is easy and possible in any garden.
Allotments as insect oases
With special flowering gardens many associations today transform allotment sites into insect oases, supplemented by a very diverse offer of nesting aids. May is the best time to set up such insect hotels. Those who additionally provide a sufficient food supply with native flowering plants and fruit trees have already done a lot for the friends with six legs. Incidentally: honey and wild bees feel very comfortable in cities! Even on the balcony it is possible to support them with forage plants and a small bee hotel (available at the hardwear store or garden centre).
More knowledge and tips on wild and honey bees can be found on the website of the BDG under:
respectively on the websites of the other federations
Author Thomas Wagner, scientific member, BDG
An idea to also increase the visibility of allotment gardening in your country?
In 2017 the Flemish federation Tuinhier surveyed its 2000 volunteers who are active on a local board. This survey resulted in a lot of feedback and ideas. One of the needs we had to address according to our volunteers was 'Visibility'.
In 2018 a poster was created in a working group. This poster was launched in 2019 with our first magazine of the year. We asked all our members to put up the poster in a visible spot.
Afterwards, we asked our local volunteers if they liked the campaign and how they had used the posters. 28 % used the digital version on Facebook. 61% of our local boards put up extra posters in public spaces. 50% actively promoted the campaign with their members. Some made a contest out of it; others added their local contact information or used the same image on their programme and flyers.
In general almost all our boards asked for a repetition or a similar campaign in the following years. The quote we used on the poster means: "garden pleasure? That grows here!"
All our cabbage species can be traced back to the wild cabbage. They originate from the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea and the European Atlantic coast. In addition to the wild cabbage, the Greeks already knew two cultivated forms of it in the fourth century before Christ.
If in the past, cabbages were pre-cultivated and then planted out. They are mainly directly sown into the ground today. For home-gardens young plants continue to be very practical. Some types of cabbage are also cultivated in poly-tunnels and glasshouses such as, for example, broccoli.
Young plants are cultivated by sowing in the greenhouse already in February. From mid-May till the end of June, you can sow them directly in the garden. The sowing depth should be approximately one centimetre. Germination takes between 10 to 14 days at 15 to 18 degrees. Planting can take place from the end of April until the middle of July, 7 to 8 weeks after sowing. Later sowings will be planted after 4 to 5 weeks. The planting distances should be between 40 x 40 and 50 x 50 centimetres. Young plants planted directly in the garden should be covered until the end of May. An abundant supply of water and nutrients is important. Broccoli should follow itself only every 3 to 4 years. An unsuitable crop rotation also exists with cucumbers, pumpkins and other cruciferous vegetables. The harvest extends from early June until October, when the inflorescence has budded. The main shoot is cut off about 10 to 15 centimetres below the flower. About 18 days later the side shoots can also be cut out. Autumn harvest is less endangered by premature shooting. The culture period lasts between 12 and 14 weeks.
Broccoli has a very high requirement in nitrogen-potassium and phosphor. Fertilisation is administered with one soil fertilisation and two head fertilisations corresponding each to one third of the total fertiliser requirement.
Ethylene secretions from other vegetables and fruit reduce broccoli storage time. If you store broccoli, the plant will soon flower. When buying broccoli pay attention that they have dark green and solid roses. Broccoli lasts longer if you place chipped ice on the florets.
Dr. G. Bedlan