Tips from your - Eist Uebst a Geméis" gardener" (Your Fruit and Vegetable gardener)
This type of salad is often served in winter as a delicious appetiser - either alone or together with bits of bacon and egg: it’s called lamb's lettuce.
Lamb's lettuce is popular and widely cultivated in England, Holland, Italy, France and Germany. By now it is also being grown in Luxembourg
This salad is grown and harvested outdoors mainly from October till the end of February. Lamb’s lettuce is very cold-tolerant. It also has high vitamin C and iron content. Gourmets speak of the salad’s nutty aroma, which is due to its high levels of essential oils.
An uncomplicated vegetable
Lamb’s lettuce is an obliging and very straightforward vegetable. As long as you bring it out in a sunny spot, it thrives in almost every type of soil.
Also it requires little in terms of nutrients and is therefore a perfect postcultivation in late autumn to finish the garden year.
Planting may be done in rows or as single plants over an area. However, we recommend row sowing, as it is easier to care for. The plants should always be kept free of weeds.
When laying out the plants, make sure that there is 10 to 15 cm of space between the rows, so that the lettuce can develop optimally. When sowing, we recommend making a small furrow with a stick in the ground about 1 centimetre deep, then spreading the seeds evenly in the furrow. After sowing, gently press against the soil with a board, as the seeds need to have good soil contact.
Lamb's lettuce seeds take about three to four weeks to germinate. During this period, make sure that the young seedlings do not dry out. Due to heavier dews in autumn, the plants normally have enough water available. Despite this, you should carefully check humidity around the plants. If you want to be on the safe side, install an evaporation protection such as a meshed ground cover or perforated foil. But again, checking the plants regularly is important. If the plants get too wet, there is a risk of fungal diseases. Fertilisation is usually not necessary for this crop.
We take care to avoid harvesting when frost is present, because doing so makes lamb's lettuce soggy very quickly. By using ground protection, you can still harvest in light frost.
To stop lamb's lettuce unnecessarily converting nitrate into nitrite, it is advisable to harvest it only in the evening, so that it can make use of the full sun during the day.
Cut the lettuce plants just above the root with a knife, so that the leaves still hold together.
The "Eist Uebst a Geméis" gardeners wish you a good and tasty harvest!
Dear allotment gardeners
“It is amazing what you can do, if you just have the courage to try”.
You may be wondering why I am writing this sentence at the beginning of this article at the start of this new year.
The national federations and the Office, i.e. the whole allotment movement, are facing great challenges, both internally and externally, in order to properly shape the future. The considerations have already started to respond to our new environment. Courage and farsightedness are necessary.
Internally, we must increasingly become a service organisation for our members. Our magazines should be modernised, wherever necessary. Not only information from our associations, but also examples of good practice from home and abroad, as well as subjects as for example ecological gardening, permaculture, climate change, water protection etc. should be dealt with. A reactive homepage, a good facebook site and the use of other social media will further carry our suggestions inward and outward. An optimal networking with other allotment organisations and the conclusion of strategic partnerships will support our efforts and help us to make us more visible.
Additionally, we have to train our associations and members and give them the necessary assistance in their garden and in the associative life: specialist gardening advice, seminars concerning the application for financial support, club management, accounting, conflict solutions etc. These are just a few examples of our commitment towards the individual allotment gardeners and associations.
Also externally, in a new environment, we have to position ourselves differently.
Today, the new forms of urban gardening are enormously praised by people and politicians and the allotments, part of this urban gardening, are often forgotten. Our many years of experience and our continuous contribution in the social and environmental areas are not sufficiently perceived. Other “green organisations” often try vocally and without any consideration to push us aside.
Furthermore, there is on one hand a lack of land to create more plots in urban areas, while on the other hand we find vacancies in rural areas.
In order to counteract this tendency we have to be better perceived. People, other organisations and authorities need to understand what we stand for, today and tomorrow. We have to underline our advantages, our services to society, our experience and know-how. We have to work out a vision for our movement, a vision that will enable us to make the movement, wherever necessary, more efficient, to promote and protect it. A pioneering spirit is needed.
The members have to understand what we do; they have to be taken on board. This vision, this common goal, must then unite the members and motivate them to work together with their boards for the development and the taking into consideration of our concerns.
We need progress: we have to innovate and to find solutions to the new challenges.
On the one hand, we have to reduce the plot size to shorten the waiting lists, to take into account the problem of lack of time of the working people and their lack of horticultural knowledge. On the other hand, we have to carry out projects on empty plots, involve partners and work out with the authorities, wherever necessary, an allotment development scheme and find solutions acceptable for all …….
In these reflexions and actions we can/must consider the statement of Bill BRADLEY: “Ambition is the way to success, perseverance is the necessary instrument”.
I wish you good health for 2019 as well as courage, ambition, pioneering spirit, optimism and perseverance, in order to consolidate and develop our movement.
Secretary General of the International Office du Coin de Terre et des Jardins Familiaux
The winners of the allotment championship have been announced
The winners of the 24th federal competition "gardens and urban planning" have been announced: Six gold, ten silver and four bronze medals were awarded in Berlin on 8th December 2018. In addition, a total of 25,500 € prize money was awarded. The awards recognize the allotment garden associations' special achievements in the social, ecological and urban development areas. The motto this year was: "small gardens – colourful variety".
"They give a home to insects, live integration and stand together as a community: Our 20 finalists are outstanding examples of how important the small gardens are for our cities and our communities", explains Jürgen Sheldon, chairman of the jury of the national competition. "We are proud of our allotment gardeners, because they show that even with limited resources much can be achieved". Every four years the federal government and the federation of German allotment gardeners (BDG) give the allotment gardeners the opportunity to participate in the championship. An expert jury examines all the finalists very carefully on site and assesses whether the facilities hold what they promise.
This year the jury was particularly enthusiastic about the allotment gardeners' innovative spirit. "Rent-a-Beet" (rent-a-plot) concepts make it easy to start gardening, the harvest is shared so that fruit and vegetables do not rot, and numerous projects to protect species create refuges for rare animals – sometimes in the middle of the city. Natural gardening is great anyway – herbicides and chemical-synthetic antifungal agents and chemical-synthetic agents against pests have been banned for a long time. Bees are kept in 19 out of the 20 facilities, and luxury style insect hotels are standard. All sites show: The allotment gardeners have started their way into the future since a long time and tackle challenges – whether species protection, intercultural living together or generational cohesion.
The results at a glance:
was awarded to the allotment gardeners in Berlin, Chemnitz, Hildesheim, Karlsruhe, Landau and Rottweil.
was awarded to the allotment gardeners from Bremen, Castrop-Rauxel, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Kellinghusen, Löderburg, Munich, Schwerin and Torgau.
was awarded to the allotment gardeners from Altenburg, Kassel, Osterburg and Neunkirchen.
Photos of the event and the winners can be found at:
Have a look at the brochure:
During the 24th federal competition the jury was particularly enthusiastic about the allotment gardeners' innovation enthusiasm. Their impressions, findings and recommendations as well as 20 wonderful portraits can be found in the brochure: Results of the 24th federal competition "gardens in urban planning". The brochure can be downloaded under:
Thomas Wagner, scientific member of the German allotment garden federation
At the beginning of the year we were alerted by the results of a European study which noticed the very sharp decrease in the number of birds, especially of sparrows, around inhabited places. There are several reasons for this situation. On one hand, the disappearance of a large number of suitable nesting sites and, on the other hand, the reduction of the available prey volume, as a result of agricultural practices and the use of insecticides.
On our allotment sites and on our plots, though modestly, we can act on both of these factors. First, by installing nest boxes, then, second, by making sure that, there is a well-stocked natural pantry all around.
Before setting up a nest box, you must choose a place that best guarantees the, safety both of the brood, and the parents who look after it. In our gardens there can be wild predators as, for example, beech martens or weasels. Above all, however, there are cats. It might be wild cats or cats with owners, filled bowls and soft cushions, but who, as soon as they leave the home of their master, go hunting. Recent studies show not only that this expedition is much longer than previously estimated, but also that the cats found were often not the ones expected.
So, watch out for anything that can be used as a footstool, hiding place or perch for cats.
For the same reasons a nest box must be very strongly and securely fixed. It must resist all weather conditions and possible unwanted solicitations, as for example, from magpies and crows in particular. The presence of a few bushy shrubs will allow the young birds to go to safety when they leave the nest for the first time.
For a nest box to function, it must comply with a certain number of constraints: it must be adapted to the nesting sites needed by those species of birds present on the site or for those you want to attract.
One of the most important elements is the diameter of the flight hole. For small birds (blue tit, crested tit, marsh tit, coal tit) and tree sparrow it should be 26 to 28 mm. For birds a little bit bigger, like the tit or the red tail white face, it should be 32 to 34 mm. The distance between the base of the flight hole and the bottom of the nest box must be at least 17 cm, so that the young birds remain out of the predators' reach.
Inside the nest box at least one of the boards must be sufficiently rough, so that the nestlings can cling to it to climb and leave the nest. Do not hesitate to "rework" it with a chisel if necessary.
Here are the dimensions of the different elements for a simple nest box, which can be cut from a board of 2 meters long, 180 mm wide and 20 mm thick:
Roof: 180 x 220 mm
Base: 120 x 140 mm
Back: 120 x 270 mm
Front: 120 250 mm
Sides: 270 x 180 mm
To accommodate other species of birds, different types of nest boxes can be integrated during the construction of a garden shed. In the North of France, we still can find "sparrow pots" that work very well. That's all for the shelter. Let's now go to the table.
Herethe strict application of the allotment gardens rules established by the Fédération nationale des Jardins Familiaux et collectifs (French allotment garden federation) finds its full justification.
In order for young birds, as well as the gardener's children, to receive a healthy and sufficient diet, the use of any chemical product and insecticide must be permanently banned. These products are considered as being insectivores so you must leave them their prey at least during the feeding period of the young. They take extremely well care of them. It is rare for cabbage white butterfly caterpillars to fully develop in a garden with a busy nest box. And it is the same for many insects.
In addition, the mulching of crops and a few piles of decaying plants in the corner also bring prey in large number.
Remember to have a bowl with clean water near the nest box. If the bowl is large, always leave a bundle of wood that will serve as a perch and will prevent drowning.
New nest boxes must be installed in early winter. The existing nest boxes that have already been used, have to be cleaned and disinfected before they are put back into place at the same time in early winter...
If you want to get started with the installation of nesting boxes at a large-scale, it is absolutely necessary to get into contact with the bird protection league, which has up-to-date information and scientifically validated technical data.
Recommendation of the Conference of INGOs* of the Council of Europe
for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) to be held in Katowice, Poland, from 3 to 14 December 2018
Alarmed by the violence, the diversity and impact of climatic disturbances, which are becoming more intense and more widespread;
Alarmed by the conclusions of the last report of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Climate Change, adopted on 8 October 2018 by the delegations of State Parties in Incheon (South Korea), which makes the future of the planet more dependent than ever on decisions related to human activity, and by the absolute silence of political leaders regarding this report;
Concerned by the inability of the signatory States to the Paris Agreement (2015) to implement their commitment to maintain or reduce their own GHG emissions in order to achieve the overall target of +2°, which is reduced again today;
Being aware of the difficulties of the drafting and future implementation of the Rule Book of the above Agreement by numerous signatory states with their very diverse levels of political, economic and social development as well as a very uneven level of awareness and regulation of human rights;
Considering the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948, whose 70th anniversary will coincide with COP24;
Considering the specific reference to human rights in the Stockholm (1972) and Rio (1992 and 2012) Earth Summits ;
Considering that the United Nations Framework Agreement on Climate Change adopted in Rio in 1992 stipulates that "The Parties should protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities";
Recalling that the Millennium Development Goals state that those concerning health and environmental protection can be achieved while guaranteeing human rights; that the development goals 13-16 are focussed on environment and climate questions and that the COP23 decision 3 recommends an equal representation of women and men on all levels of decision making and of the fight against climate change ;
Considering the principles and values promoted by the Council of Europe, through its founding text, the European Convention on Human Rights (1950), but also through the European Social Charter (1996), the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (1979) and the European Landscape Convention (2000);
Considering the Recommendation CM/Rec(2002)1 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Spatial Development of the European Continent;
Recalling the Recommendation 1885(2009) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the drafting of an additional protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the right to a healthy environment;
Appreciating that public access to information and justice and public participation in decision-making, recognised in principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on the Environment and Development as essential human rights, have been formalised in the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention, 1998);
Considering the Guidelines CM(2017)83 on civil participation in political decision-making of 27 September 2017 and Recommendation CM/Rec(2018)4 of 21 March 2018 adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on citizens' participation in public life at local level;
Supporting the statement of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment of 8 October 2018 at the date of the publication of the latest IPCC report that: "Climate change is considered to be one of the greatest threats to human rights... It has and will have devastating effects on a wide range of human rights, including the right to life, health, food, housing and water, as well as the right to a healthy environment.";
Considering the above-mentioned report, which recalls the absolute urgency of respecting the Paris Agreements to keep the increase in global temperature below 1.5°;
The NGOs with participatory status with the Council of Europe:
- affirm the utmost importance of placing climate change at the top of the agenda in order to ensure the future of humanity and the planet;
- are convinced that the necessary and urgent solutions can only be found by involving the whole of civil society at all levels of mobilisation and decision-making;
- demand that international negotiations go beyond the strict context of greenhouse gas reductions and include the protection of the fundamental rights of all human beings, taking into account the impact of all phenomena related to climate change on the enjoyment of these rights;
- demand that respect for the right to life, dignity and mobility include the establishment of international rules that require States and regional institutions such as the EU, regional and local authorities to take immediate consideration of:
o the threat to habitats, water and food resources from extreme weather events and slow degradation of soils and subsoils;
o regular assessment of natural and industrial risks aggravated by climate change;
o prevention of political and social conflicts related to the resulting sharing of resources;
o admission of populations driven out of their territory by rising water levels, the scarcity of vital goods or the deprivation of essential services;
o compensation of populations deprived of their property, aid or assistance to these populations;
o consideration for the poorest and most vulnerable populations, being potentially the most exposed;
- recommend that States and regional institutions put in place effective and fair regulatory measures accompanied by financial incentives to achieve the goals set out in the above-mentioned texts.
*(INGO ... Conference gathering 307 international NGOs having participatory status with the Council of 'Europe)