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OtleyLad

Need a soil analysis

Our community group has been offered 2.5 acres of land for use as a community garden (I've posted about this before).
Thing is the site was once settlement beds for a sewerage works. The land has been unused for perhaps 80-100 years so its unlikely to be a bio-hazard and hopefully there is no contamination from heavy metals.
We want to plant fruit trees on the land and also set up mini-plots for people to grow their own veg. So its important we know if the land is 'clean'.
Commercial soil analysis is far too expensive for the group so we are looking to find someone who might do it for less. Any suggestions?
Mistress Rose

I am afraid that if you want it done properly you are going to need some fairly complex equipment, therefore you will need to pay. Could you get some quotes and then have fundraisers to get enough money? This isn't just a case of dunk a test strip in; you will need to know how much contaminant is there.
Slim

Here in the U.S. it would be about $20-$30 for a general soil test and an analysis of heavy metals from a land grant university. Is there no service like that in the U.K.?
Rob R

The SAC will do a contamination assessment for less than 90, the equivalent of 3 trees - what exactly is your budget?
Treacodactyl

I used YARA, details posted in an earlier thread.

They offer various tests but I would guess you'd require more than just a single test but a number over an area. One hole might be clean but another could show risks. Doesn't the council offer a service?
OtleyLad

The SAC will do a contamination assessment for less than 90, the equivalent of 3 trees - what exactly is your budget?


We have no budget as such. So it will be a case of finding out what we have to pay and raising it somehow (as long as its not thousands).

What's a SAC anyway?
OtleyLad

I used YARA, details posted in an earlier thread.

They offer various tests but I would guess you'd require more than just a single test but a number over an area. One hole might be clean but another could show risks. Doesn't the council offer a service?


The local town council is tiny and I doubt has any funds (it certainly won't have the equipment or people to do it).
dpack

The SAC will do a contamination assessment for less than 90, the equivalent of 3 trees - what exactly is your budget?

We have no budget as such. So it will be a case of finding out what we have to pay and raising it somehow (as long as its not thousands).

What's a SAC anyway?

the scottish agricultural college,just dont ask about molybdenum levels from burning pet coke at drax.

for non political stuff they are very good.
gil

Another vote for the SAC soil testing service. dpack

while making a list of things for the orchard i realized that we need a soil/fruit chem threat test asap cos if it is contaminated it would stop us before we start and if all is ok it is another good point in our favour with the land owners and sponsors

local legend has it that the hospital boiler/incinerator wasnt too far away and it is next to the a19/deere street so there is potential for a problem.
john of wessex

Some years ago the Environmental Health at North Somerset did an analasys of the Seaweed at Clevedon beach after I asked if it was safe to use on my allotment - it was.

Might be worth starting with Environmental Health at your District Council/Unitary Authority
dpack

apparently our local agricultural college owe us a favor or two having given them opportunities for tree planting etc etc so we might get them to do it .at this time of year they are on their hols though which sort of messes the timetable of doom leading up to the planting season Rolling Eyes

i need to get a application for funding in this week as well (see T O D Surprised )

THIS GAME IS A BIT LIKE THE NAVY SLOWLY,SLOWLY,HURRY UP AND WAIT.anarchists are much better organised than committees and charities etc.

i will drive things forward asap but it is like pushing string sometimes.
dpack

there is a lab at pocklington that will do a metals check for 50

the funding bid went well and very fast(3 hrs from form in to result),we have half our initial budget promised Laughing Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

getting a committee of 3 + an adviser in one place seems to take far longer than crossing the andes by frog though Rolling Eyes
NorthernMonkeyGirl

there is a lab at pocklington that will do a metals check for 50

the funding bid went well and very fast(3 hrs from form in to result),we have half our initial budget promised Laughing Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

getting a committee of 3 + an adviser in one place seems to take far longer than crossing the andes by frog though Rolling Eyes

Laughing
OtleyLad

there is a lab at pocklington that will do a metals check for 50

the funding bid went well and very fast(3 hrs from form in to result),we have half our initial budget promised Laughing Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

getting a committee of 3 + an adviser in one place seems to take far longer than crossing the andes by frog though Rolling Eyes

Laughing

Great news dpack.
That lab in Pocklington, do you think it could do checks for us in Otley?
dpack

i would think so if you can post them the samples.i can get the contact details in the next couple of days but i think it was lancrop mentioned ,they seem to be in the right place ,might be worth getting in touch if you are in a hurry

sampling is easy you either do separate ones from different areas(costly) or shake em all up in a bucket and send one (cheap)but less specific

if i recall correctly sac needed about 200 gms
OtleyLad

i would think so if you can post them the samples.i can get the contact details in the next couple of days but i think it was lancrop mentioned ,they seem to be in the right place ,might be worth getting in touch if you are in a hurry

sampling is easy you either do separate ones from different areas(costly) or shake em all up in a bucket and send one (cheap)but less specific

if i recall correctly sac needed about 200 gms

Yes, I'd really like the contact details - thanks.
dpack

wiil do ,im pretty sure it is lancrop ,pocklington OtleyLad

wiil do ,im pretty sure it is lancrop ,pocklington

Found the website - thanks.
dpack

ive been looking at the fruity link you posted ,plenty to consider ,ta . OtleyLad

Yesterday we spent a couple of hours going through some old docs the local town council dug out for us. We found clear evidence that the site has been tested (by a commrcial offshoot of Leeds University) and cleaned up!
Some Chromium was found (but not in our specific area) and that was treated/removed.
In fact the areas we want to use for our community garden were used as a (wet) paper pulp store. This layer was removed and the land filled in with layers of gravel, clay and topsoil. This is greatly reassuring - we have been worred about just how safe it would be to grow fruit and veg there.
We've still the lease to negotiate but its another step closer Laughing Laughing
Mistress Rose

Glad you found the information Otleylad. Hope the rest of the work goes smoothly for you and you get your community garden going before the spring. OtleyLad

Glad you found the information Otleylad. Hope the rest of the work goes smoothly for you and you get your community garden going before the spring.

Thanks MR.

This month is also the time when people can vote in the local 'Voice your Choice' scheme. Local groups submit projects and then a public vote decides how a 10,000 pot is shared. If successful it will provide funds for fencing, tree guards, a large shed and polytunnel. Fingers crossed.
dpack

good news re the decontamination works.

re funding we have a grand committed and a good chance at some council local community development money which is being offered by their "conservation "department.
it is worth approaching local businesses ,they often have a "charitable"dept and as they get it back as tax reductions they can effectively get good publicity for free Wink
OtleyLad

good news re the decontamination works.

re funding we have a grand committed and a good chance at some council local community development money which is being offered by their "conservation "department.
it is worth approaching local businesses ,they often have a "charitable"dept and as they get it back as tax reductions they can effectively get good publicity for free Wink

The local Lions have come forward and offered 500 towards trees. I did not know but their Natiional body has a commitment to plant 1,000,000 trees and the local branch has been waiting to find a means to fulfill their obligation. Is there a Lions in York or nearby?
dpack

i dont know but i will soon ,ta mate

having looked into prices for fruit trees and the lead time before cropping/casualty rates im thinking standards are the best bet.
that puts a tree with weldmesh guard and big stake around the 75 mark ( a 2 to 3 yr maiden and guard is about 45)

that means we probably need about 3k to do the full job this winter and have enough for the insurance for volunteers for a couple of years before we get a decent crop off the old trees to cover expenses until the new trees are providing enough to cover ongoing costs and hopefully fund the next one somewhere . we are a third there gnted and maybe 2/3 with some solid leads but we do need a bit more to do a proper job .

if you need details of a recommended insurer i can dig them out
Mistress Rose

We use BTCV for our Volunteer Group. This gives public liability insurance and limited personal insurance for the people taking part in the activity. You have to pay a bit to belong to BTCV, but there are also grants available through them for tools and things, so could be worth while. Our cost is about 200 a year. dpack

we have had the same organization recommended for association and insurance,apparently they have dropped the B from the name Laughing

at the mo i am trying to keep up momentum and emphasise that the tree works window for planting and pruning is prob end nov to end feb and it has a gap for party season in the middle Rolling Eyes

we are getting more ducks in a line but there is a lot to do in a short time to have it all in place to work with the season.

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Laughing

i never asked or got others to help or permit planting the 7 acre wood on a bracken covered north facing steep slope(30 oak varieties ,birch,maybe 10 sorts of needle trees(inc some rather exotic ones),a cherry grove ,a variety of assorted broadleafs(hornbeams,maples,elms etc etc )and probably quite a few oddments ive forgotten about.

it has been an ongoing project for 45 yrs and no bother at all to create a pretty good mixed forest including leaving the bilberry patches ,open spaces for vistas,fire breaks etc etc Laughing
dpack

juggling the complexity (or simplicity)of "other people" is difficult.

i think we need to set some comms protocols asap ,trying to make sense of stuff when bits of it come attached to various emails on different subjects needs sorting .

does information sent or forwarded to all three with it's own title and subsequent discussion of that information by all three in a separate email stream make sense?
i just answered the same issue in two places in slightly differing ways to the same person with the third person missing from the issue or the discussion and i recon it would have been better for the three of us to know about it and deal with it collectively.

ay up otleylad ,heavy lies the head that wears the crown:lol:
Mistress Rose

Talking of simplicity, make sure your planters know what they are doing and don't let them wave a bare rooted tree around in the air for half an hour before planting as I have seen done. It may also seem obvious, but make sure they know which way up it goes. Very Happy dpack

Laughing Laughing Laughing

beer o keyboard ,if only it was that simple Rolling Eyes
dpack

it seems the tcv have some grant schemes for startup groups which could cover the cost of insurance for the first year and provide some training for trainers and or tools.we seem to meet the criteria for both Very Happy

it seem i have persuaded that to do too much in an initial meeting is daft as it wont be done well so they have agreed to one next week to cover outlines,timings ,budget etc etc and a second one the week after to finalize the constitution and set things on a formal basis Very Happy

now the other bit ,the adjacent hotel want to extend their car park but if the land owners will let them or by how much we dont know yet,they dont know they have to get past an old crustie who is willing to let em have a bit but not a lot(the site of the stand of 10 huge leylandii wont be much use for planting and they have to go to give enough sunshine into some good planting ground) .so it might or might not be a good thing or depending on the scale of their ambitions.
dpack

how are your plans going otleylad?

im finding organising the well meaning and competent but busy into an effective unit on a mission with a timetable set by the seasons far more difficult than expected but fund raising,getting folk willing to assist with technical stuff and gathering assorted volunteers to help has been far easier than i expected.
the clearing about 20 medium sized willow and leylandii trees ,planting and pruning window is mid nov to mid feb with at least a month out for the mid winter festivities at a good guess gives about 8 weeks of intensive practical stuff and all the necessary agreements, tree orders,funds etc etc need to be in place in time(2 months ish).

there is a lot to do in a couple of months in both phases but if we get there i recon organising the practical bit will be the easier stage of the job.
OtleyLad

We're still waiting to sign the lease. I'm hoping that we will meet with the council in the next 2 weeks and then we can start digging. I've taken 2 weeks off work so I can now prod the council to get on with it.

We've now drawn up a detailed plan of the site and already talked to half a dozen other local groups who are up for contributing (with time and/or money).

Today we're going to hand out leaflets in the local market to promote our bid for the local Voice Your Choice funding ballot. As we make more noise we are getting more enquiries from people who want to join us (some who really want to contribute and others to follow. I'm hoping that we can end up with a core team of about 6 reliable, committed, optimistic, pro-active people who can push it all forward. Well, I can dream.

Yesterday I got an email from someone who wants to sponsor a tree - this is our scheme to raise money over the long term. You can sponsor a tree and get your name on it (though thats optional). We can get an awful lot of small trees on 2.5 acres. We've just mentioned this on the website - so people are taking notice.

Its going to be a long term project - I'm prepared for that.
dpack

we just had our first face to face committee meeting on site,lots of stuff clarified and i think we are all singing in the same key if not in harmony yet Laughing

it looks like all is well so far,we still have quite a way to go but after a bit of a push it looks like the engine is running.
Mistress Rose

Dpack, hope the car park extension is favourable to you. Glad you have got everyone together and going the same way. Otleylad, good to get your first tree sponsor. A good way to go. dpack

it is worth remembering that small trees can become big trees and having to thin "memorial "trees might cause bother in a few years.

my next task is to write up the friends of agreement and hopefully we will be officially up and running by the end of next week Very Happy
dpack

i think the old trees are newton wonder one of the local apple experts thinks they might be and the description in this id guide matches what i have in bits on the table and the age/location etc of the trees Mistress Rose

Nice to have an identification. Slightly off topic, but the farm shop I patronise are going through their early varieties now, so we seem to be on to a different one each week. Makes a change from a choice of just one or two varieties. OtleyLad

it is worth remembering that small trees can become big trees and having to thin "memorial "trees might cause bother in a few years.

To avoid this we're saying to tree sponsors that they can select from a limited list of trees. Also any fruit trees will be grafted onto dwarfing rootstock - so we can get more into the available space.

We've got a date now in (2 weeks) from the council to discuss the lease - so hopefully when thats sorted we can actually get our hands dirty.
dpack

i took some snaps today ,and will check them pre use.
S D took some snaps as well.
we were thinking season by season and task by task might be fun

apparently there is a facebook page but ... and you will see them here
Mistress Rose

Look forward to seeing the pictures Dpack. dpack



a preview
dpack



this is more fun Laughing
Mistress Rose

Nice. dpack

the final draft of the constitution is done and 4 copies printed to sign and i have 3 decently tweaked snaps to go with some qorfs (what are gorfs?) for the facebook page

gorfs are words typed in near darkness Laughing

fingers and hoofs crossed we should be up and running properly quite soon.there is still lots to be done and for every task completed i find two more i can see we might get to work during this winter's planting and pruning season.

im hoping once we are up and running to have a go at finding out what the volunteers have in terms of skills ,resources and inclinations.we are well into double figures for volunteers so between them i hoping for cake ,some storage space near the site and a pick up truck Laughing

the other good thing about sorting this to "officially"running is that we can then go fully public ,seek more funding etc etc .(or more work as i think of it Laughing )
dpack

we had a constructive meeting(and feedback)
i have a facebook page uggghhhh (so as i can edit the orchard page).

it aint easy but it seems it is possible

how your one going in otley ?
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