October 2017 Newsletter
Dutch Reach Saves Lives
Every year cyclists are injured and even killed when car doors are opened, but there is a simple technique which reduces this risk. In the Netherlands it is a required part of the driving test, and the habit is taught by parents and schools. Whether you are a driver or a passenger, simply use your far hand to open the car door. This automatically makes you twist so you are more likely to see bikes and traffic. For more info or to book on any of the courses or workshops at The Mix, email Jo, call 07768 767787, visit the Mix website, or the Mix Facebook page.
In The Mix in October:
Crocus planting Session
Sat 21st Oct from 10am - 12 noon
and Sun 22nd Oct from 10am - 12noon, and 2pm - 4pm.
Millbrook school side of Brereton Drive, Grove.
Grove Parish Council have very generously funded the purchase of 9000 crocus bulbs. We will plant both early and later flowering varieties, which will be beneficial for early pollinating insects.
Please bring dibbers/trowels, gloves, hand wipes, drinks etc. We will plant the bulbs 3-4 inches deep, pointy end up.
Let's Go Eco - Family fun day at the Vale and Downland Museum
Tues 25th Oct 10am -3pm
A collaboration between the museum and Sustainable Wantage; come along to build bug boxes, explore compost, have a go at a range of upcycling activities and lots more.
There will also be an exhibition of Upcycled crafts in the museum's Upper Gallery between 16th Oct -17th Nov; get inspired - or pick up some early Christmas presents!
The Dutch Reach project is promoting this method to prevent 'dooring' accidents. They suggest tying a ribbon to your door handles as a reminder.
* Look out and back
* Open slowly
NEW - You can now line your Food Caddy with plastic bags!
Food waste can be put into your food waste bin loose, wrapped in a couple of sheets of newspaper, or you can now line your food waste caddy with plastic bags or compostable liners. Carrier bags, pedal bin liners or bread bags are all suitable, but please do not use black bags.
Food waste is collected every week. Use your small kitchen bin to collect food scraps and then transfer them into the large food recycling bin for collection. You can put all raw and cooked food waste in the caddy, such as leftovers and spoilt food. Meat and fish bones, cooking oil, lard and fats, and old cut flowers are all fine to include. Please don't put any food packaging into the caddy, unless it is being used as a liner.
The food waste is processed using Anaerobic Digestion at Crowmarsh Gifford, where plastic liners are automatically removed. It creates a natural fertiliser used on Oxfordshire farms. The process also produces a lot of gas which is burnt to provide electricity. The plant at Crowmarsh Gifford makes enough electricity to power a town the size of Wallingford and Radley.
Satisfying Seasons - October
Autumn colours in the hedgerows and woodlands
Bird migration sites
Estuaries for the return of over wintering birds
Hedgerows for berries, late butterflies and small birds
Fungi in woodlands and grasslands
Woodlands are the place to go to see this month's speciality - fungal fruiting bodies.
Hazel is one of the earliest native species to turn brown. Sloes start to stand prominent on the spikey branches of the blackthorn, as its tatty autumn leaves fall away.
Mammals such as bats and rodents will soon be preparing for hibernation. Some species such as the badger which do not hibernate will be fattening themselves up for the lean months ahead.
One of the delights of this time of the year (October and November) is the arrival of large flocks of winter thrushes moving slowly southwards - the redwing and the fieldfare. They come from Iceland and Scandinavia where they will have bred. These species migrate at night and when together frequently call with a high pitched, clear whistle. Most nights they can be heard passing over head.
From When to Watch Wildlife.
What's in Season This Month
Artichoke, almonds, apples, beetroot, bilberries, blackberries, broccoli, butternut squash, celeriac, celery, chestnuts, chicory, chillies, chives, cob nuts, elderberries, fennel, figs, garlic, grapes, hazelnuts, horseradish, jerusalem artichoke, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce & salad leaves, marrow, medlar, parsley (curly), parsnips, pears, potatoes (maincrop), pumpkin, quince, radishes, rocket, rosemary, runner beans, sage, salsify, shallots, sorrel, swede, sweetcorn, thyme, tomatoes, truffles (black), truffles (white), turnips, walnuts, watercress, wild mushrooms.
From the website Eat the Seasons.
Butternut Squash Salad
In the Garden
October is the month of harvest festival. A time to gather in and celebrate your successes in all parts of the garden: and start to plan for next year! The end of the growing season also means a busy time composting crop remains, saving seeds and preparing soil for winter.
Don't put compost down now, many of its nutrients could be washed away over winter. Use it in Spring before the growing season. Large areas of bare soil start to appear in all parts of the garden. If left over winter, the soil will lose nutrients. Use organic mulches to protect it and give good structure for next year's growing season. Best mulches are a thick layer of:
1. Autumn leaves, wetted so that they don’t blow away
2. Straw, grass clippings and autumn leaves mixed together
3. Cutback plants such as sweet peas, peas or runner beans, chopped up
4. Several sheets of newspaper, covered with damp grass clippings to weigh it all down.
Prune out canker-infected branches and twigs on apples and pears. Disinfect tools afterwards. But don't prune cherries, plums and peaches and apricots. Continue to mow lawns, but raise the height of the blade. In wet weather, keep off the grass.
Plant new fruit trees and bushes. Choose ‘bare root’ plants, they usually cost less than pot grown ones. Ideally choose organic stock, certified disease free and from an organic nursery. The soil is still warm now so plants will be able to start developing a good root system before winter. See How to Grow Fruit the Organic Way
From Garden Organic.
Air Pollution in Oxfordshire - take action
In May 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) put Oxford in a list of 10 UK cities that are failing to meet air quality standards. Public Health England report that 5.3% of deaths in Oxfordshire are attributable to particulate air pollution and many people suffer long-term ill-health that is made worse by pollution. This petition calls for a new pollution action plan for the county.
Photographer Justin Hofman took this striking image, which illustrates the problem of plastics in our oceans. He said "It’s a photo that I wish didn’t exist but now that it does I want everyone to see it. What started as an opportunity to photograph a cute little sea horse turned into one of frustration and sadness as the incoming tide brought with it countless pieces of trash and sewage. This sea horse drifts long with the trash day in and day out as it rides the currents that flow along the Indonesian archipelago."
The UK's first Zero Waste Shop has opened in Totnes. Customers take their own containers to buy refills, minimising disposable packaging.
A designer has come up with clothes that change shape as children grow. Petit Pli clothing could allow parents to buy far fewer clothes per child, reducing the environmental impact. They're focusing on gender neutral styles, to facilitate re-use between siblings.
Over half of UK electricity came from renewables this summer. Between late June and September, 52% of electricity generation was met by low carbon sources, compared with about 35% four years ago. Meanwhile, the UK's first subsidy-free solar farm opened this week in Bedfordshire (althought his should not be taken as evidence that the solar industry is no longer in need of support). The persistent myth that green energy is expensive has been shredded by the revelation that windfarms will be built around Britain’s coast far more cheaply than new nuclear reactors. They are also now cheaper than new gas power stations.
Scotland plan deposit returns scheme for bottles and cans - Under the programme, customers would pay a surcharge that would be reimbursed when they return the bottles or cans.
The Trash Isles - There is a rubbish patch the size of France in the Pacific, and this petition takes an interesting approach - if it were declared a country it could have 'citizens' and rights!
Free eBook available to download from the climate reality project - Soil Health and the Climate Crisis.
An energy firm in China has come up with a novel way to promote renewable sources of energy; their new solar farm is in the shape of a panda.
E-Car Club expands in Oxford Oxford now has two electric cars available to hire at a rate of £5.50 per hour/£45 per day. The club has vehicles across the country which members can hire.
Green Drinks SW Social
Wed 25th October
7.30pm - 9pm In The Mix on Mill St
Bring your own tipple | All Welcome.
Images: Apple cider vinegar by Phongnguyen1410, TQ3499 : Crocus with Honey Bee, Myddelton House Garden, Enfield, by Christine Matthews, Dutch Reach pictures from The Dutch Reach project, Recycle Shopping Bag Arrows by OpenClipart-Vectors, Bracket fungus by Mike Quinn, Hazelnuts from Wikimedia, Marrow by PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay, Butternut squash by Lebensmittelfotos on Pixabay, Autumn leaves, Lisburn by Albert Bridge, Fieldfare with bait! (8414622998).jpg by Ian Kirk on Flickr, Sea horse by Justin Hofman, Hywind floating offshore wind turbine 431 013006 by U.S. Department of Energy, Bottle by Clker-Free-Vector-Images.