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Category: Allotment

  1. MYHarvest

    Posted on

    MYHarvest is a research project funded by the EPSRC and being run jointly between the UK universities of Sheffield, Loughborough, Newcastle and Exeter.


    In the project, researchers from the University of Sheffield aim to collect data of fruit and vegetable yields grown by allotmenteers, private gardeners and community gardeners.  By measuring production by unit area of ground this data could help determine the extent to which own-grown food contributes to UK food security and sustainability today.  This will help in future decisions regarding how much green space in our cities is required for own-growers such as those who contribute to the project now.


    Take part - it's easy!

    Record information about one or more fruit or vegetable crops that you grow.  Even if the yield is lower than expected, the data is still valuable. 

    Information on each crop must include the area of ground on which it was grown and the weight of the harvest.  These can be given in metric or imperial units but be sure to tell them which you have used!

    Harvest results can be sent to the team either by post or via email, whichever is easier.


    Contact details for MYHarvest

    University of Sheffield
    Department of Animal & Plant Sciences
    Western Banks
    S10 2TN

    Email data or questions to
    [email protected]
    Main website:


  2. The Robin

    Posted on

    There's been a robin in our garden ever since we moved here nearly 7 years ago.  I've always thought it's the same one, though doubtless if this is unlikely someone will correct me (how old does a robin get before it is too old and must make way for a younger bird?).

    He greets me when I go outside the back door, more often and more enthusiastically when I venture past the patio.  On these occasions I am usually going to the compost bin or the shed at the bottom of the garden, only a few steps further along.  He is very attentive, interested in what I am doing, scolding if I can't give him time or conversation.  Recently I've watched him scratching in the newly-mulched border, dragging out tasty treats and gobbling them up with a greedy eye for more.

    It is quite clear that my garden is also his garden; there are no other such territorial birds allowed within the bounds.  In fact late last spring I watched him shooing away several competitors, an exhausting effort for such a small creature.  He did it though, and sat proudly chirping away in the conifer and then on the fences either side, showing off his prowess at 'keeping others out'.  It seems I have a "guard bird", kind-of.

    There's a robin on my plot at the allotment too.  Now, if the one at home is fussy about his patch, my allotment friend is so much more so.  He has even been known to shoo away much larger creatures - birds, yes - and a fellow plot-holder, once (they had to stand on the path and talk to me from there or get dive-bombed, repeatedly).  Though he didn't seem so bothered by a lone blue-tit who was even allowed to sit in the same tree.

    So I am coming to learn the sounds of the robin as he goes about his work.  I missed them a bit over the past cold winter and wondered if they'd still be there once it warmed up a bit.  But they are back there again, in my garden and on my plot and I love these two places all the more for it.